Sunday, September 15, 2019

Machine Embroidered T-Shirt #2--Tenth Finish 3rd Quarter FAL2019

Initial stitch outs of embroidery possibilities for the t-shirt
After finishing Miss J's t-shirt, I decided that I had better finish Miss K's shirt! When I stitched the sample, I liked the "frilly" look to the butterfly embroidery because Miss K is all about glitz, ruffles and "frilly." The design was a little too small for the front of the t-shirt. My embroidery software makes it easy to enlarge or reduce an embroidery design. In this case, I enlarged it about an inch.

When I shared the possible design with my friend, JoJo, she suggested that the center of the the flowers would be a great place to add a little sparkle. She knows Miss K so well! In the software portion of the design I deleted the stitching in the center of the flowers so I could add some bling there instead. I used a knit stabilizer on the back of the fabric along with a tear away.
Embroidery design for second t-shirt

Again, I carefully hooped the design. I rehooped the design several times, working to position the fabric in the hoop "just right." I found that not having to incorporate the neck edge made it a lot easier to hoop the fabric. I started stitching the design. I had a hiccup with the thread path which caused the stitching to distort. I got to rip the stitches out and try again. Ripping wasn't easy because the stitch is like a triple stitch. Fortunately, the hiccup happened within the first two inches of the design. Unfortunately, that area just didn't stitch as well as the rest of the design.

I also created an embellishment for the sleeve.  I think I spent about as much time carefully picking out as much of the stabilizer as possible as I did selecting, hooping and stitching the design! I'm learning and I still have a lot to learn. I am more confident with placing designs. This is my tenth finish for the quarter and goal number 16 on my 3rd Quarter FAL list.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Machine Embroidered T-Shirt #1--Ninth Finish 3rd Quarter FAL 2019

Pink pre-washed t-shirt
Before I embroidered a design on the t-shirt, I first washed it to preshrink it. I had two shirts so rather than measure the shirt before and after, I washed one and compared it to the unwashed shirt. These are a Jerzees brand of shirt and I sure thought that there would be a lot of shrinkage. Was I ever WRONG!

I was so surprised when I layered the washed shirt on top of the unwashed shirt and found almost no difference. . . .well, perhaps, there was a half inch difference overall.

My husband donated one of his t-shirts to me so that I could practice machine embroidery on a t-shirt before I actually stitched the design. For several reasons, I found it is good to make a practice run.

Embroidery samples
First, if there are some areas in the design that need a little adjustment, the sample is a great place to spot them. Second, it is a good time to check to see if the threads chosen work well together. Once the design is stitched, there might be better thread choice so the design is more more pleasing to the eye! Third, it is a way to see if the stabilizer chosen works well with the design.

I've stitched designs multiple times tweaking as I go before I stitch the ONE! This is the first time that I've embroidered on a clothing item and the first time that I embroidered a design on a knit fabric. Hooping the design was a challenge. I'm glad that I had the old shirt to practice on first!

Threads lined up for stitching
The three designs, that I chose to be my first samples, came with the software. It is fun to use motifs that I already have! I experimented with the larger butterfly. I used a variegated thread to stitch it. Although I liked the added interest the thread created, I decided it wasn't the right feel for the granddaughter. I decided the smaller butterfly was too "frilly"; but, decided the kitty was just right!

Hooping to get the motif to stitch as I wanted made me sweat with nervousness. In the end, I got it close enough for my eye. I added a little embellishment to the sleeve. I wouldn't have thought about adding embellishment; however, my friend JoJo suggested it. I think Miss J will notice right away. I like the little bit of "extra
Finished embroidery 
special" the sleeve embellishment added to the garment. Hooping such a small area was challenging; but, in the end it was worth the extra effort. Thanks JoJo for your suggestion!

This was goal number 14 on my FAL list. No fabric was used in this project. It will be a gift for Miss J. It is my ninth finish for the quarter!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Quilting New Beginnings--post 3

Oops--missing seam allowance
Backing fabric
This quilt top has been waiting to be layered and basted for months. My last post was in December!
Pin basted ready for quilting

I was stumped about what to do for a back. Often, I piece the back using leftover bits from the front. This time, piecing a back wasn't what the quilt wanted. In Martha's stash from that last day at her house, I had picked up a piece of fabric that was a print of pastel plaids. I don't think it is 100 percent cotton; but, it worked for this project. There was enough for the back and the sleeve.

Before I layered the top, I added another border as I didn't want the binding to infringe on the pattern. Turns out I forgot to leave a seam allowance in that area. I've been quilting long enough to know better. Obviously, I missed that step in the pattern. I'm not concerned though. It is still a great project. I look forward to finishing it!

After I had pin pasted the layers, I made the sleeve and I prepared the binding. The binding will be the same as the outer border fabric. I'll be thinking of what I want to include on the label. It will take awhile to quilt this piece so I've plenty of time to think about what I will write!
Thread selection used for the anchor quilting
In the meantime, I began the quilting as I generally do by stitching in the ditch and around all the applique pieces. The pieced border was all the ditch quilting so I finished ditch quilting quickly!

I auditioned and selected some silk threads to start. For this anchoring part of the quilting, I tend to choose threads that will blend. As I quilt, I will add even more! I like silk threads because the fine thread almost disappears as I stitch around the appliqué pieces. I used a 100 weight polyester in the bobbin.

It took me about four hours to complete the anchor quilting. I didn't love quilting with the stabilizer in place. The needle made a popping sound as it entered and exited the fabric. The loft of the quilting is a bit flatter than when I've quilted without stabilizer. I set it aside as I pondered how I was going to quilt the center of the piece.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Welcome Aboard to Bust Your Stash Challenge

Welcome aboard to the Bust Your Stash challenge!!! 
The outer border fabric said "stitch me"

If you are new to the challenge or don’t know what I’m talking about, you will find the rules here. Read the rules and think about what you want to create.

When it comes to designing, it can be daunting of where or how to start! Inspiration is behind every quilt. For me, inspiration could come from:
—a particular piece of fabric that says stitch me
—an event like a wedding, a birth or a graduation is on the horizon
—nature, the colors of a blooming plant, a sunrise or a landscape
Stitched to celebrate a special birthday
—exploring a technique, a concept, a shape or a pattern (If you’ve a pattern that you purchased, you’re on your way!)
—reading a blog, Bonnie Hunter’s for instance, you might want to try a pattern, tip or technique. You can find Bonnie’s blog here.  

If you are concerned that you won’t have the time to create a quilt, consider a leader/ender project. As you piece your projects, have a stack of parts ready to stitch as the beginning and ending to your pieced sections. It is a way to keep continuously stitching and a way to efficiently use more of your thread! Last year, Bonnie introduced a leader/ender project that used two inch squares. You can access the pattern here.
Preserving a view; exploring techniques

I created a Pinterest board to store some ideas. I might sketch a few ideas with a pencil. I often will make a number of small sketches on a page. Later, I will pick a couple to draw larger. I might even use color pencils to enhance the sketch. 

Believe in yourself and your ideas. Most important. . .have fun!!! Since we are a community, please leave a comment regarding what inspires you to create. I plan to post an article the first Wednesday of the month along with a few examples of past work. You can also check out #2020bustyourstashchallenge on instagram. Next month, our topic will be where to find scraps. 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

August Recap

Miss J seeing her quilt at the fair
The best part of August was receiving the photo of Miss J seeing her quilt hang in the Clackamas County Fair. She won a blue ribbon (1st in her class); a purple ribbon (best in her division); a pink ribbon (Judge's choice) and $14 in premium money! She was tickled!!!

Although Miss K didn't enter in the textiles division, she did earn ribbons with her card, floral and herb entries. She made great progress on her mermaid quilt in August.

Miss K with her herb entries
I earned one purple ribbon, 14 blue ribbons, eight red ribbons and two white ribbons with my fair entries. Most of the items will be gifted. Some will end up in the guild boutique sale and others will be gifted to family and friends. When I unfolded my entries I found the stitches on the sides and lower edge of the sleeve of my Star Patch entry ripped. I wondered if the sleeve wasn't four inches wide; but, it was. I wondered if someone thought that I had sewn the sleeve on the wrong side of the quilt because the back is pieced. A friend wondered if someone tried to steal the entry. I've entered items in the Clackamas County Fair for many of the 27 years that I've lived in Clackamas County. My entries have returned home just as I had sent them. I contacted the chair of the department. She was appalled and is on the case to find out why someone removed the stitches! In the end, the quilt wasn't damaged and restitching the sleeve will just take some time.

Sleeve pinned in place for restitching
With my friend Theresa, I co-taught six participants in a lifeguard instructor review course and we taught seven participants in a lifeguard instructor course. I taught swim lessons to 14 participants and trained 40 participants in
Basic Life Support CPR for a total of 67 participants.

My dad's brother died August 10; he was 87 years old. His family did a great job organizing their dad's send off. My uncle restored old cars and was particularly gifted at engine restoration. Members of his old car club formed a processional. They drove their restored cars--think models of the 30's--from the funeral home to the graveside service. My uncle, in his casket, arrived in one of the first vehicles that he restored. My brother provided the remarks at the graveside. My brother captured milestones of my uncle's life. Had I closed my eyes, I could've heard my uncle relating the information! After the service, we went to a bakery where my uncle met friends for breakfast. We shared stories about him. It was great to catch up with my cousins.
Monthly thumbnail drawings
On August 28, my friend, Theresa, celebrated her birthday with three of her friends. We went to a paint party. This was a first time experience for me and it was a fun couple of hours! We giggled, laughed and even put some paint on a canvas!!

I have continued drawing thumbnail sketches in my journal. I can see an improvement with practice. If I hadn't been drawing, sketching and coloring, I think I wouldn't have had as much fun at the paint party as I did.

Theresa, Trisha, Ashley and me with our masterpieces
I met 14 of the 17 goals on my August list. My plan is to complete those goals as soon as possible! Today, my plan is to finish the August embroidery lesson. I have finished the software part of the lesson and am about an hour and a half away from finishing the stitch out of the lesson.

Perhaps, I'll feel comfortable enough to embroider two t-shirts too! In August, I refined my designs in the software. I'm ready to start the stitch out process. I've also a skirt to stitch for Miss K. I've been thinking about what I want to accomplish for September. This evening, I'll refine my list. I have found it is helpful to have a written list of goals!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Whorl--Eighth Finish 3rd Quarter FAL 2019

Close up of fabrics and free motion quilting/appliqué
Inspiration for this quilt came from a book! In 2016, our Thread Tales book club read, "The Sister Brothers" by Patrick Dewitt. There was a passage in the book where the brothers are using a product to collect gold from the river at night. The author left me with the impression that I could see the gold particles collecting against a dark background. Later in the story, one of the brothers offered a flower to a woman that he wanted to have a relationship. What I enjoyed about the book was that the story began and ended in Oregon City which is not far from where I live.

I had taken a class in 2015 from Larkin VanHorn where she taught a fusible applique technique. I loved her approach to using anything and everything in her work! For the class, I purchased a piece of a glittery knit formal wear fabric which I backed with a fusible interfacing. I had been in a long creative slump and thought perhaps using the color yellow would brighten my prospects. I pulled yellow batik fabrics from my stash to take to class. I created a background with some leftover wonky log cabin blocks I had made for another project. The log cabin blocks used brown, green, grey and black fabrics. I went to class ready to create.
Close up view of beads in the "gold" lines

Larkin's approach was to add a two sided fusible stabilizer to the fabrics. She would cut various shapes/chunks of these fabrics and adhere each to the batting. She was disappointed that I wasn't trying her background method when she saw my "prepared" background. I do try to follow the teacher's instructions. To that end, I made a second project in her class using her background method which you can read about here. Larkin also free hand cuts shapes to fuse to the background and she embellishes her work with beading. I would have loved to have taken a class from her on beading techniques!

Beaded lines
I cut a bunch of "petalish" shapes and started arranging them on the background. I tried to create a drift of color. . .like a sunrise or a sunset on water. What was interesting was that the shape evolved into a flower. I decided it was serendipity and continued to build on that shape. I have to admit, fusing the shapes was FUN! I loved the effect the formal knit fabric added to the project. Remember that I had used a fusible interfacing on that formal knit fabric? Well, it was fusible on only one side so it wasn't fused to the background. I was unsure how I would attach those fabrics to the background. Larkin often used tulle on top of her work to corral the bits. She would quilt on top of the bits and embellish with beads. The piece did seem to want tulle.

View of finished back
At the end of the class, although I liked my flower, I didn't know where it would go. I hung it up--along with the batting and backing that I had prepared in the closet. . .where it hung for more than four years! In July, I pulled it out of the closet and using silk thread, I stitched in the ditch in the log cabin background. I carefully stitched on every petal of the flower. As I stitched, I thought about embellishing the piece with beads. I had purchased a few types of beads for the class and I had a few beads from my husband's grandmother and my grandmother.

I thought about a segment on the TV show, Gold Rush, where the cleaning of the mats are shown. The gold bits end up in a sort of line and show so well against the green background.  I beaded that line using the tip of a petal as a point where the small stuff ends and the bigger chunks collect. I used some beads, a few bugle beads and a variety of seed beads to achieve the texture in those lines.

Close-up view of the label
After I had beaded about half of the gold lines, I took a walk. When I returned, I "saw" that the lines gave the piece a sense of  energy and movement. If I beaded all the way around the flower, I would lose that sense so I stopped!

At that moment, I started thinking that perhaps, I needed to add borders to the outer edge of the piece because maybe the design was too large for the background. I put the project on the design wall and stared at it for a day. The more I looked at it, the more I liked it as it was.

In the beginning, I planned to add a facing as the finish. Then I had a thought about a binding embellished with "dust" and perhaps some larger chunks falling off the edge of the piece. After seeing the spinning effect, I decided a plain black "traditional" binding would compliment the design the best.

When I pulled my black scraps to cut the binding, I found a brown/black print with gold lines. I decided the plain black binding would be too flat and when hung in a show, the piece would be lost against the dark drapes most shows use. I went with the printed binding.

I purposely ended the beading about half an inch from the edge of the work so that I would have a little wiggle room when I squared the piece. I also would have room to stitch the edge finish without running into the bead. I also though that I could extend the beads to the edge of the binding if I thought that would add to the interest of the piece. In the end, I liked how the "Whorl" floated.
View of finished front

When I asked Larkin if she had creative slumps and if she did, what did she do to keep making progress, she said to always play. She said to try a different technique or work in a different medium for a bit. She said to be gentle with your creative spirit and to always have fun. As I look back on the class and this finish, I realize that I have been following her sage advice!

"Stuck" times happen less often and are also don't last as long. I am having fun creating. It is such a wonderful feeling to finish another project that has been hanging in the studio. I used about a yard and a quarter for this project. I have now used 65 yards of fabric from stash this year. This was goal number eight on my 3rd quarter FAL list. It is my eighth finish for the quarter!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Supporting the Boutique

Two collapsable shopping bags
Our Mt. Hood Quilt guild will be holding "A Symphony of Color" quilt show at the Springwater Church of the Nazarene in Gresham, Oregon September 13 and 14. I love the name of the show as quilt shows are a wonderful blend of colors, textures and patterns! If you are in the area, please come visit the show!

This is the guild's second biennial quilt show. Members are supporting a boutique. Martha and I've done our part to stitch some items to sell during the show. I stitched two shopping bags that are about 11 inches wide by 17 inches tall that can be rolled up and slipped into your purse. In this day of bring your own bag, I hope that these will sell.
Pincushions, baby slippers, fabric baskets
and cell phone bag 

I stitched a small (four inches wide by six inches tall) cell phone pocket that I decorated with couched threads. It is for the times you don't have a pocket but want to carry your cell phone with you.

Cord holder, roll up make up bag,
waste bag and thread catcher
In Martha's stash, she had made a number of pincushions using a log cabin design. She even made one with machine embroidery. . .I liked the patriotic theme! She also had a box of parts for baby slippers. I made six pairs. . .if these don't sell. . .I think a single one would make a cute pin cushion. . .Perhaps, I have pincushions on my mind!!!! I also made three small reversible fabric baskets. These could be a thread catcher or a gift basket to hold a spool of thread or candy or some other small item.
Small gift bags, luggage tags
and wine bottle gift bag

I also made a thread catcher using an embroidery hoop as a way to keep the top open for easy access. I made a roll up make up bag/pencil holder bag and some cord holders.
Chenille potholders and ruler tote

The cord holders are cool because they stay on your cord when you thread the cord through the covered rubber band. You can write you name on the inside of the holder. Now, if you leave your machine cord at a class or retreat, it can come back to you. Also, it helps remind you to pack up your cord! Next to the thread catcher is a waste/trash bag that could go in your car. Martha made this one!

Medium size patchwork handbag
I made an assortment of luggage tags which would be great to mark sewing machine cases as well as luggage. I made three small gift bags. They are cute when they are full. A ring is what makes the closure. The top of the bag when closed reminds me of a jester's hat. Martha had made a padded gift bag for a bottle of wine.

I stitched a ruler tote bag using selvages to create the outside of the bag. The pockets in this tote will easily hold a 6x24 inch ruler! From a project bag of Martha's were the makings for chenille potholders. I finished the project and added them six to the sale items.

On the guild free table was a kit to make the patchwork handbag. I boxed the corners, added pockets to the lining and added a zipper to close the top of the bag along with a decorative binding for the top edge. These fabrics were made in Japan and they feel like linen. I hope someone will buy this bag! Between Martha and me, we will be donating almost 50 items to the sale!