Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ferns in the forest

A fern frond made from fabric, 22" long

A search for royalty free images of ferns yields a huge variety of examples to choose from, such as the frond worked in fabric pictured above.

In the warm, humid south we find ferns everywhere, as prolific as weeds.
My backyard has a crook and hanging bird feeder holder and each summer a fern/vine climbs and trains itself around the metal. I cut off an end, sandwiched it between two pieces of clear Contact paper, and scanned it at 300 dpi.

After opening the scanned image in Paint, I set the printer to 400% of the original. Below you see the result. The enlargement is clear and distinct - providing all I need in the way of detail.

The 'live' fern is the tiny one, the larger image the print.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Golden Flute

"The Golden Flute" is a story quilt: it tells a story not yet told. A riddle, perhaps...but sometimes life is a riddle. Stories can be entities that demand to be told. From where else come our dreams? They grip the mind of the teller and shake them up until the story comes out.

I began this quilt with little idea of how it would come about. I knew I wanted a curved border, that the colors purple and pink would figure prominently, along with lady bugs. In the quilt world where squares and triangles are called "churn dash" that could mean almost anything.

Where do lady bugs live? On leaves and flowers, in sun and shade with their friends the butterfly and dragonfly - and fairies if we are lucky.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Bog Shirt Dress

Nursing a peturnia through our hot summer, with my Mother's Day rose 

The bog shirt makes a great summer dress - big, loose and cool. And took about 15 minutes to make. It's 100% linen, and I don't bother to iron it, just taking it out of the dryer as soon as the dryer stops. Love that texture.  Note the  "ugly quilt" on the sewing table inside the living room window.

Lazy Summer Sunday

It came!  The catalog of the Irving Penn exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  It's a treasure.
I am wearing my latest fashion: The big purple bog shirt made of linen. The older I get the less I care about appearances - obviously.

Friday, July 7, 2017

A Tummy Time Quilt for Baby Girl Beuk

I had a hard time getting inspired for this quilt and I was running out of time. But finally decided I loved the block - so why not make it a "One Block" quilt. My parameters (y'all know how I love the challenge of limitations) were a set of 5 Fat Quarters, and whatever I could find from the stash. I only had to buy backing/binding. BTW: Tummy Time quilts are for laying on the floor so baby can have time on its tummy. The experts are advising against using quilts to cover baby in the crib. They are also used to cover baby in the carrier.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Transfer Lines from One Side of the Fabric to the Other

During my career as a custom seamstress, original patterns
and alterations to ready-made clothes were a major part
of my activities.

When I'd "pin fit" on a human body or dress form, I would
work from the right side of the fabric. It was then necessary
to transfer the lines made by the pins to the wrong side
for matching and sewing.

The garment is carefully removed, and working from the
wrong side of the garment, chalk would be pressed
along the pins, making a "rubbing" of the pins. Then pins
were removed and the garment was sewn, matching
up the chalk lines. How easy is that?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Fussy Cut for "Mine Alone" Quilts


Every quilter wants her quilt to be hers alone.  

After all, she did the work, in spite of using classic shapes

 and patterns, and manufactured fabrics.


How far will we go to make something unique?


One award winning quilt at Spring Paducah 2017 uses tiny pixel-like dots -
 not fabric prints but "separate, minuscule dots"
 placed with tweezers and fused.  
Others color their fabric, or use dye methods that produce random results.

Fussy cutting implies and requires selective choices.


 It happens when we use the cut and position of the print
 to create a focused design. 
Joining two fussy cuts to create another image takes the concept further. 
Paula Nadelstern has turned it into an art form,
 and while I have never made a Nadelstern style kaleidoscope quilt,
 her books taught me a lot over the years.

Most are familiar with Willyne Hammerstein's Millifiori which uses
repetition of fussy cut English paper Piecing to create
 amazing one-of-a -kind quilts.
 In that method, the paper shape is covered with the fabric.
It's a simple matter of placement.

Juxtaposing Two Fussy Cuts,

My Process

  • I start with a vague idea, then select a pattern and fabric that generally fits the idea.
  • My work surface is an inexpensive cork board that measures about 17" X 23."

The Pattern

  1.  I draw the pattern full size on graph paper from a tablet by June Tailor, 12.5" X 12.5." In this case I want my block to finish at 8" square. I use pencil in case I want to make changes. Note: Ziploc 2 gallon freezer bags are excellent pattern protectors at 13" X 15."
  2.  I cut a piece of clear cellophane gift wrap the size of my pattern, and glue it over my pencil drawing with Elmer's Washable Glue Stick, to protect the paper pattern from glue from the fabric.
  3. The pattern is pinned to the cork board.(I love being able to pin into my work surface.)
  4. The center square is just a square-on-point, so I measure my pattern and make a "viewing window" from cardstock, the finished size of the square. I only need one, so I don't bother with a template.

 Corner Triangle Template

  1. Using heat resistant template film (from Jinny Beyer Studio, sold as Multi-Purpose Template Film) I trace my corner piece. After adding 1/4" seam allowance to all edges I cut it out.
  2.  A 1/16" hole punch,  (from Jinny Beyer) puts a hole in the template at each seam intersection.
  3. With the template on the fabric, I trace guidelines from the fabric to be able to repeat the fussy cut. I believe I first learned this from Paula Nadelstern.

The Pattern and corner template

The Fabric

  1.  I will use pins to note the general edges of my center square, [note: see June 10, 2017 post] and remove the viewing window. Adding  3/8" seam allowance to the area for the center square, I cut the fabric, place it on the pattern and pin. The large seam allowance lets me re-arrange the square once the corner triangles are pinned to the board.

    On the left, fabric for the center square. To the right is the fabric for the corner triangles.

      The corner triangles are cut using the template.

  2.  I place the template on the fabric, lining up the guides on the template to the print in the fabric, and trace around template shape with a Micron Pen. With all four corners traced on the fabric, I cut them out.

Corner Triangle

Using template film with a quarter inch guide marked, I starch, turn 
and press the seam allowance along the long edge of the triangle.

Putting it together for glue basting...

  1. The center square is on the pattern and secured with 2 pins. Only one pin would allow it to "swivel."
  2. The corner triangles are pinned to the board, with the edges even with the corner pattern line PLUS one square or row, for the quarter inch seam allowance.
  3.  The pieces are pinned only to the board, not to each other.

  1. With the corner triangles pinned in place, you can remove the pins in the center square and move it around slightly until you are happy with this 'trial run.' Pin the center in place again with 2 pins. 
  2. Remove the triangles. 

Putting glue on the seam allowance. Any glue that gets on the cellophane wipes up with a damp towel.
  1. Thinking of the corners in terms of compass points, add glue to the seam allowance only of 2 of the triangles and place them at the North and South corners, exactly as in the 'trial run.'
  2.  After the glue has set, but not dried, you can fold the triangles to the center, to reveal the seam allowance. Remove all the pins and carefully pull the unit loose. Take it to the machine and stitch in the crease that was pressed in when you turned the seam allowance.
  3. Press the triangles back in place, face up. Repeat the process with the East and West corners.

    The center is finished!