Thursday, November 29, 2012

Quilting.....Free Motion

I have noticed that as I continue to produce quilts, more and more time is spent on the actual quilting. The quilting, the addition of those stitch lines, has become my most favourite part of the whole process. I am aware that there is a lot of information out there regarding the subject of free motion quilting, but I believe everyone needs to develop a way of working that best suits them. I thought I would share a few things that I feel are key to success in my quilting.

I think one of the biggest myths is that you need to go  FAST,  that is simply not so, you need to be in CONTROL. You need to develop a rhythm where your hands are moving in sync with the speed at which you are running the machine. It takes time to find it. It doesn't happen overnight. It does take " practice"  but not just grabbing a bit of quilt sandwich and stitching with no really won't learn a lot from that. you need to actually "quilt" the more you quilt, the more you will learn and the better you will get. Most of the newer machines allow you to adjust your speed, try experimenting with different settings until you find something that is comfortable for you, something that feels right.

A topic I often hear discussed, is what music to listen to while quilting......I do NOT listen to any music at all. I listen to my machine. I almost "zone out"  as I stitch at a steady rhythm, I am extremely aware of the sounds the machine makes and will know immediately if a problem begins developing on the underside.

If you have " Needle Down" function. use it. As soon as I have pulled the bobbin thread to the surface, I engage the needle down feature, I essentially take 1 stitch in place before moving and do this every time I start and stop to ensure I don't get any jerky stitches...the goal is a nice smooth line.

When I quilt, I put my machine up on top of my cutting table so that I have a large surface to support the quilt, no pulling or dragging from the weight of the quilt is extremely important.

Finally, where to look when you are stitching, you need to know where you are heading and have your eyes focused there. Do not look at the needle, instead, look ahead, follow the line (even if only imaginary) with your eyes and your hands/machine will move in the same direction.

I plan to do another post later, about how I decide what to quilt, sometimes what you choose to quilt can make all the difference

Friday, November 23, 2012

My latest article

As the Artist in Residence for the Canadian Quilters' Association, I design and write articles for The Canadian Quilter. The Winter 2012 issue is out and contains my latest article. This time, I choose to talk about designing and provided an exercise in creating your own designs.
I had to include a shot of the cover. That quilt that appears on the cover, was created by 4 very talented ladies as a group project. It is an absolutely amazing piece.

Below, is the quilt I made for this issue, it is a small whole cloth piece 30" square. I showed how to mark (or not mark rather) those circles. here .......and ..... how I basted it, here

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cutting Paper Snowflakes

Edit:  Video added

I am often asked about my paper cuts, many of you would like to know how I go about doing them.

I begin with a piece of paper that measures 12" x 12" which is then folded......there are several sites that show how to create paper snowflakes, you can see the folding steps here

Fold (you will notice in the following photos that the excess at the top gets cut away)
 I then draw the image I want to repeat. It will need to fit onto one section of the folded paper
 I unfold the paper and using a light box, transfer the image onto one section, then refold.

 I use a set of mirrors to see exactly what I will get once I have finished cutting

The tools I use
Staples hold the layers tightly together, punched holes allow for easier maneuvering of the scissors.

Now, I am ready to make those cuts, small sharp scissors are an absolute must!

More cuts are made...... notice that I am cutting so that I always have something solid to hold on to.

I am showing you lots of photos so you can see that I "plan" each cut

Cutting is complete

Carefully unfold. It is delicate and must be handled gently

Once I have it unfolded, I use a dry iron to press it flat. This one has 12 sections and is made up of birds and bees. Whatever you choose to draw, you need to be sure that everything is "connected" otherwise it will all just fall apart.

Here is a video of the whole process

Below is a sampling of some other themed papercuts I have created using this same method.

Even though I had been designing this way, it had not occurred to me to cut snowflakes until I had taken a workshop conducted by Kathy K Wylie.....she takes "snowflakes"to a whole other level.
If you seriously wish to create your own unique snowflakes and want to learn how to translate them into fabric, I suggest you get yourself a copy of Kathy K Wylie's book, Sewflakes

Friday, November 9, 2012

Anne-Marie's Prize

Recently, I celebrated my 3 year Blog-Versary by having a giveaway...the prize was to be an original doodle by me...........the winner was Anne-Marie (no blog). She asked me to draw a frog, I did, and sent it off to her. I had not shown it yet, because I wanted her to be the first to see it. Yesterday she let me know it arrived, so here is a look at her very own frog.
So glad she liked this.....She sent me an email and I just had to share part of it with you....Anne Marie says
"This is one froggin' awesome doodle! I love everything about it: from the pattern on the back to the funky legs and the sharp eye! It looks like it's about to jump out of the frame!"

Friday, November 2, 2012

Zentangle or Doodle

This book, Joy of Zentangle arrived at my home yesterday.

I was made aware about a month ago that I was listed as a "contributor" (ah, don't get is just a photo of pieces created using this doodle) no instructions....just a photo and my name.

The work shown, was originally published as a project in this book in 2010

In Joy of Zentangle, the history and philosophies behind  Zentangle and it creators is fully described.....In fact, it even goes so far as to tell you the difference between Zentangle and a mere, having read this, I can tell you for certain, that I just doodle.... I do not Zentangle.   I show what it is that I do, here

Apparently...."Doodling is mindless, and the end result is not always a piece of art. The Zentangle method is mindful and the end result is always a piece of art."  this is a direct quote from the book, btw.

I won't go into all of the descriptions of how Zentagle was born, or how using it can "change your life" (another direct quote.) I will say that, while I did learn some things about Zentangle, I am also left a bit confused. There are "official" tangle patterns......uh....really???? patterns that have been used for centuries.....look at them and tell me you have not seen these in antique quilts, medieval tapestries...yadda yadda....ya-duh!

The book does walk you through the steps to drawing 101 tangle patterns, has very nice instructions on how and where to add shading, as well as tricks to getting wonderful depth and dimension.

So....if you want to Zentangle.....find some Zentagle books or take a sure your teacher is CERTIFIED!!!!  apparently you must go to Providence, Rhode Island, take a 4 day seminar from it's creators to become a CTZ (Certified Zentangle Teacher)....whew....I am getting thirsty.....pass the kool aid.

Even though my work is often referred to as, or compared to Zentangles.....I have always maintained that what I do is nothing more than doodling......oh... and I have an eraser and I know how to use it   :-)

Copyright Jill Buckley