Wednesday, August 27, 2014

10 Quilty Little Secrets

13 Spools

I just ran across this tonight and have had such fun reading through all the posts!  Amy at 13 Spools posted about her quilting secrets and others have joined in.  I am a little late to this party but wanted to share my secrets, too.  If it's true that confession is good for the soul, then this should make me feel better.  On some of these I am not alone.

1.  I only change my needle when it breaks.

2. I am not interested in traditional patterns with lots of points that have to be all matched up exactly perfectly.  Ugh. This is supposed to be fun.  And while we're on this topic I don't want to make the exact same block over and over,

3.  I love most of the modern quilting esthetic, but also love some stuff that is SO NOT modern. Like Baltimore Album Quilts, Mary Lou Weidman's happy whimsical stuff and some stuff that is really girly and cute and sweet. Not as serious as some of the modern quilts out there.

4. I love the look of hand applique but have no desire to do it.  If I applique it is on the machine, with raw edges.  When I am in the mood I find it really fun to use a bold blanket stitch to machine applique.

5. I use Coats thread for piecing. If it's good enough for making purses or clothes it is good enough for quilts.  I usually quilt with Mettler because my LQS/Bernina dealer carries it and it is a bit thicker than regular thread so it shows up more in the quilting and I like that.

6.  I have done "real" binding that I hand stitch to the back of the quilt and that's OK if I am in the mood for some hand stitching. ( I prefer the ladder stitch for this.)  But I like machine binding, too. and I am not averse to doing other types of finishing - like folding the backing fabric over to the front the enclose the edge. Or doing a turned edge.

7. I can FMQ well enough to suit me - meandering. But I'm not interested in all those fancy schmancy FMQ designs.  I really don't like much quilting "messing up the beauty of my patchwork." That extra money I paid for my walking foot was money well spent!

8. I prewash.  Sometimes the dyes and things in fabric can make me sneeze or make my eyes burn.

9. I iron, not press. And I LOVE to iron. I love to iron my freshly washed and dried fabrics. It gives me the chance to admire the pretty patterns! I have never used any starch.  I love to iron the seams in the blocks and then turn it over and iron the front.  I press seams to the side in most cases.

10. I have no desire to wrestle a full size quilt through my little machine, so I make smaller quilts. Although I have recently seen a tutorial for a QAYG method that sounds feasible.

11. I never follow patterns - I make it up as I go along!

What are your secrets?  Leave them in the comments and follow the link at the top of the post to read all the other entrys.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mermaid Mini-Art Quilt

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday!

I have a small mermaid art quilt in process.  It measures roughly 11 x 17 inches at this stage. I'm really just getting started here, still have a lot to add - fish, seaweed, underwater critters.  I am planning to add some hand embroidery, and who knows what else.

Her tail is made from a bunch of little bits of fabric held down by random machine stitching.  (Yes, there is even a use for those teeny tiny scraps!)  These bits are loose on some sides in some areas. I have not decided if I will embroider her facial features, or use a fabric pen.  I may add some beads here and there. It's fun to consider the possibilities and try different things.

I have not made one of these little quilts in a while and it feels good to get back to it.

What's in process in your studio?

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday and Freemotion by the River and Needle and Thread Thursday

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Zombie Doll!

Well this is a little outside my normal creative work, but lately I've been inspired by zombie dolls.  I decided to give it a try.  She's still in process - more details to add, but she's ready to be unveiled.

I started with this red plaid rag doll on the left in this photo. I had put it together a while back. I was just waiting to see what it would become.  Since I had already made the basic doll, I had to do all the other sewing by hand.  I love big, chunky embroidery and raw edges, so this was great fun to do.  The freedom in this type of work was cool - no rules and seams don't have to match up- because she's a zombie after all!

There are patches for her dress and some jewelry to add.  So I think her personality will still be taking shape over the next week or so.

I think it would take practice to for me to become better at this style of doll. I definitely need have a certain amount of "sweetness" mixed with the bizarre to make this style work for me.  I have plans for a rabbit made from an old sweater - a zombie bunny!

Linking up with Sew Darn Crafty

Friday, July 25, 2014

Monoprinting with Ink and Freezer Paper Tutorial

Last week I posted about some ink printing I had done. It's really fun and easy so today I thought I would post a tutorial of the process I used. 
It's really a fun and easy process and a great way to make pages for journals, collage, cards, etc., etc.


Ink  - I used Dr. Ph. Martins Bombay India Ink
Freezer paper  - to be the printing plate
Masking Tape - to secure the freezer paper
Paper to print on  - I used card stock from the office supply store.
Paper towel roll
Container for some water
A paint brush or stick

Spray bottle


Tear a piece of freezer paper larger than the paper you are printing on, and tape it to your work surface.

Next, use your fingers to sprinkle some water drops on the freezer paper.  Then use the dropper in the ink to drop some ink on the page.

Using the handle end of the paint brush drag the ink around on the freezer paper.  The ink will blend with the water droplets in places.

Place a piece of your paper down onto the freezer paper and rub the back of the paper with your hand. or you could use a brayer. 

Then carefully peel the paper up off the freezer paper.

Below is what my first print looked like.  You can see how the ink blended with the water in places to make a pastel color, and you can see the lines from dragging the tip of the paintbrush handle through the ink.

If there is lots of wet ink left on your page you can just roll the paper towel roll across the paper to blot it.

This next one is done in the same manner but with two colors of ink dripped onto the freezer paper and I dragged the paintbrush in vertical and horizontal lines.  Be sure to wipe the freezer paper off between prints if you don't want the lingering ink to color your next print. But that may give a nice effect depending on what you are trying to achieve.

Now let's try a different technique.  This time put a good amount of water on the freezer paper and rub it all over the surface. Kind of like when you finger painted as a kid.  Then, drip drops of ink onto the wet surface.  The ink will spread and "bloom."

You can do two (or more) colors of ink at once.

Here's the print I got from the above ink.

You may notice that your freezer paper is becoming stained by the ink.  That's a bonus - another texture of paper for you to use in your mixed media art!

Now it's time for another technique.  Lets drip paint onto the dry freezer paper and use a brayer to roll it around over the freezer paper.  Below: Left - the print I got; Right - the plate before printing.

Next, some of the first papers you printed are probably getting dry now. So keep going and start printing another layer on them. 

Get creative and try some new techniques - like drawing with the dropper. Or put some diluted ink in a spray bottle and spray onto the paper.

Soon you'll have your own stack of papers to use however you like.

  I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and will give it a try!  Let me know if you do. I'd love to see what you create.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Recent Art Journal Page

Another recent page in my journal.  Background inspired by Kate Crane; collage inspired by Teesha Moore.  This was a lot of fun to do.  The background is acrylic paint, stamped with home made/found stamps and more paint.  Collage, pen,marker and oil pastel.

Linking up with Art Journal Everyday

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Blog Button

Learning all  kinds of new Techy stuff including how to make a blog button!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Monoprinting with Ink and Freezer Paper

I love printing with ink but had not played with that in awhile.  I used freezer paper for a printing plate and used Dr. Ph. Martins Bombay India Inks full strength and diluted with water. It's always fun to see what you will get.  Here are a few examples.

I love the pastels you get with the diluted inks.

And all the layers show through nicely!

Using the inks full strength either on top of the pastel prints or alone gives stronger color.  If you try it - fair warning - hours can go by quickly!

I printed these on white cardstock and they would make great journal pages or cards.

I've got a tutorial in the works.

Linking up with Art Journal Everyday and Paint Party Friday