Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More machine quilting practice

Here are a few more samples I have ready for January's workshop. While trying to decide what stitches to show I thought how nice it would be to include some "McTavishing", not really being sure of just how to do it, I began looking at that pattern and realized that it was kind of a combination of 2 stitches I had used in Earthbound to depict the sky and wind. One consists of curling lines , while the other is just stitching away from a point and then moving along the outside edge to a new point and then stitching back in a waving motion changing direction every so many rows.
In this sample you can see that I have used these stitches separately on each of the outer rows and combined the two together in the centre, I does indeed resemble McTavishing.

Next I lightly penciled in some simple shapes and just did some simple outlining and small stippling. Lots of possibilities here.

I did a sample of regular meandering (Don't really need a photo of that do you?) and this fun wavy circular one.

I should volunteer to do workshops more often because in doing the prep work I am learning a great deal.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Painting and Shopping

I have decided to try to take a design and create it using many different techniques, many of them new to me. This image is from a stencil, I made a few changes and I will continue to change it and add elements as I make each new piece. The idea is sort of a cross between a BOM and small journal quilts, I hope to have a number of panels that can be joined together at year's end to make an interesting piece.
I began by drawing the outline onto pre-washed cotton. I painted this using inexpensive acrylic craft paint mixed with textile medium. It is totally washable after being heat set.(although most of my pieces are not likely to ever be washed)
The next step will be to add thread painting which brings me to the shopping part of this post. I was at one of my favourite quilt shops today, The Marsh Store. I made the trip in order to pick up some Setacolour fabric paints. ( I am beginning a collection ) and of course I just had to check out some of the other wonderful things they carry. Every time I visit that shop I find that there is something else I simply must have. Today it was these "Oliver Twists" hand dyed cotton machine threads. They come packaged as a group and as you can see, this group called Forest Floor is perfect for my current project, hmmmmmmm this may be the start of another collection.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

More machine quilting

Managed to squeeze in a little play time at the machine, wanted to try some things I've never done before. Since I think that most of the women who will be attending the upcoming workshop tend to be traditional quilters, I thought perhaps some feathers were in order. These are really free form feathers and I might add, my very first. Wow! I am so pleased with how they turned out.

These leaves were done by drawing a very faint outline of the overall shape and then just free motion stitching within those boundaries. I quite like the effect, lots of possibilities with this one.

The whole purpose of the workshop is to show how to quilt using an average domestic sewing machine. Our guild members make quilts that are given to children in foster care and while we always have lots of tops being pieced, a few of our members may be a little intimidated with the thought of doing the actual quilting.
Or perhaps, they are just not sure where to start. I hope to take some of the "fear" out of the process.
I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination but I do enjoy free motion stitching and am more than happy to share what I have learned ( and am learning ) along the way.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Machine Quilting Workshop

I have volunteered to conduct a machine quilting workshop at my quilt guild in mid January. I have never done anything like this before so I have no idea what I have gotten myself into. It will be an all day workshop so I thought I'd better start planning how we might spend our time.
We will begin by making a few quilt sandwiches for practice. I have begun preparing some samples of the type of stitches I'd like to demonstrate. These are what I have so far, I'll add more as I complete them.
In the workshop we will be doing mostly free motion stitching but I thought perhaps it would be a good idea to go over marking and stitching stencil designs as well. The first example is a simple stencil, stitched & echo quilted with lots of small stippling applied all around so that the stencil design can really stand out. An important aspect of machine quilting is thread tension so I have prepared these samples using different colours of thread in the needle and bobbin. The right side was stitched with green and the reverse is the pink.

Not sure if you can tell from these pictures but the stitches are well balanced.

One of my favourite stitches to do is really a great one to use on art quilts. It provides terrific texture and is super easy to do, just go round and round in a circular motion making big and little circles........you just can't make a mistake with this one.

Not sure if there is a name for this one at left but it is another "fill" stitch that not only looks wonderful, it really is not all that difficult to master. I learned how to stitch this one this weekend. I am confident that with practice this stitch will become a favourite.

I hope to have a wide variety of samples stitched and ready for the workshop. The bonus is that I will be getting in lots and lots of practice........ and practice is the key to achieving machine quilting you can be proud of.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas project

Last night was guild night, the last one before we ring in a new year.
There was great show and tell as usual, festive treats and our "Hands on Christmas" workshops.
All of the workshops looked to be a great success. With 12 members in my group we took over 2 tables, broke out the crayons and let the creativity flow.
The results were wonderfully different from soft and subtle to beautifully dramatic. One even appeared to be sprinkled with flakes of snow as the crayon was applied to the right side of a white tone on tone cotton print. A very nice effect.
As we had only an hour to work on these last evening, the hand and machine stitching will be done later. Unfortunately I did not get pictures of every one's work but here is a sampling of what was accomplished.
I hope every one is pleased with their pieces, I think they all did a great job!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I have noticed that there seems to be a lot of blogs with "giveaways".
I thought that perhaps I could join in.
Would you like a copy of the instructions for my "Hands on Christmas" project? Just send me an e-mail at thequiltrat@yahoo.com
put the word "giveaway" in the subject line and I will send you a PDF file containing a materials list, instructions and a full size image that you can print. If I get too many e mails I may have to select them at random but I will do my best to send every one a copy who asks for one with in a few days of receiving the request.

Tomorrow evening is the guild meeting that we will be working on this project, I will try to get some pictures of our progress (if I can get permission of course) and post them. So check back in a few days. For more info about this project you can read my November 7th post titled Hands on Christmas

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Print your own fabric............printing, painting, bleaching

Well here it is again..........This is the post that caused a few problems earlier this week but since I don't give up easily I am trying it once more. Hopefully, without any glitches this time.

Sometimes you just can't find exactly what you want. Sometimes we have to "settle" but if you only need a small amount for a project then why not create a fabric to suit your needs?
The last couple of years I have entered a piece into the "Wee" Quilt Challenge. This challenge requires the use of plaids in the making of your miniature creation. Most often I want several very small pieces and either don't want to purchase a lot of plaids or find it difficult to get the plaid in the colour I want along with the scale necessary to be effective so I have enlisted the aid of my computer and inexpensive ink jet printer. The plaid used for the "hills" and the thistle in the piece shown above were created on my computer.
First I spend a little time "creating" the plaid I want, this usually involves scanning or photographing a plaid and then manipulating it on the computer. Change the size, colour and value to get exactly what you are looking for
This can apply to any fabric print you already have in your stash. In one case I had fabric with print and scale I wanted but needed a totally different colour and hue. Not only does the use of the computer allow you to acquire the look you are after but also guarantee a "one of a kind" finished piece.

I have been quite successful using Bubble Jet Set and Bubble Jet Set rinse. Just follow the directions on the bottles.
Most recently I was working on a piece and I could not come up with quite the right shade of blue but needed about a fat quarter (a little large for using the printer) so I decided to try paint. Paint is quicker and cleaner than dye plus you can see exactly what your finished colour will be right from the start. In this case I wanted a little extra "movement" so I chose a tone on tone print with the intention of using the reverse side. I created the colour I wanted by mixing my paints and diluting with water, then I wet my pre-washed piece of fabric, squeezed it until it was just damp and then immersed it into the fabric much the way you would with dyes. I continued to move the fabric about while "squishing" it so that the paint would settle in different spots and create random lines.
Here you can see what the original piece of fabric looked like, the right and wrong sides after painting. I let it dry completely and pressed with a dry iron. It worked great!
Now back to the plaids. I am currently working on a piece for the 2009 "Wee" Quilt Challenge……….(sorry no sneak previews just yet) The fabric I chose for the back looked like a good candidate for binding as well, but being a batik I wasn't sure just how well it would blend with some of the plaids on the front……..no problem I just drew a few lines……well lots of lines actually using a fine tipped fabric pen and created a plaid batik. I am quite pleased with the result.
When working on Earthbound I had exactly what I wanted for the outer border but could not quite find the right piece for the inner border. Believe it or not, the inner and outer borders are from the same piece of fabric. I simply took a small piece of that dark green and bleached it to remove some colour, what you see as the inner border is the result. Is that cool or what?
So if you are not completely happy with the fabrics you are using, get creative…….not only can you create and print your own, there are lots of ways to add, remove or change colours in existing fabrics. All it takes is a little imagination and not being afraid to experiment.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Not sure what happened but................

For some reason my last entry to this blog caused a bit of trouble. It was simply not view-able in some browsers. By removing that post the problem seems to have been corrected. I am going to try to re-post the information and see what happens.
Copyright Jill Buckley