Saturday, October 26, 2019

Cutting Pieces for December

This last week has been a doozy!   For the first time in my life, I called 911 for an emergency that I was a part of. (Previously I called 911 to report a wreck that I passed.)  This time I was with Mom when she had an incident that scared the stuffing out of me.  It was finally diagnosed as a TIA (trans ischemic attack) with is like a stroke but not as damaging.  I really thought it was a stroke when I called 911.  They present with the same symptoms.  After a LONG visit to the ER, we went home. But my brother and I kept Mom on "observation" for more than 48 hours.  It seems that these things are highly likely to recur within the 48 hour time frame. However, we had no recurrence.
We still have some follow-up medical tests to rule out other possibilities.
---- So that is why I have been totally missing in action.

Today I started cutting pieces for my December Island Batik Challenge.  Here are the pieces I have cut.
All of these pieces with the exception of the yellow are from Jackie Kunkel's line for Island Batik called Electric Desert.  I love this line.  The yellow is one of the basics from Island Batik and it goes perfectly with this selection.  I will be adding some black and gray to these pieces.  So I hope you will be looking forward to my December Challenge post.

Meanwhile, I have my November challenge top left to layer and quilt.  I just need the time and weather to do it since I will baste it on a table outside.  You may remember seeing the triangles that I posted back in August.

This is my first quilt done totally in blue and yellow.  I won't show you the top, but I will tell you that I absolutely love it.

And after seeing a few other bloggers clean out their machines, I decided to remove the bottom cover on my Janome and clean it out. There is no dealer close to take it for a spa day.
This is what I found in the bottom and in the inner works.
That is a lot more fuzz than I expected to find.  I frequently clean the bobbin area and thought I was getting most of it out.  I think I will do this at least once a year and maybe twice now that I have seen what accumulates.

Take care of your machine folks, and it will last a lot longer.

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Promised new video

As promised I have recorded and posted the video on how I did the  coloring on fabric for my Island Batik table topper. 

I completely forgot to discuss heat setting.  To heat set your piece after it has dried for 24 hours, use the hottest iron you can use without damaging your fabric. Cover your work with a press cloth (simple muslin or cotton fabric works fine.) Press for at least 20 seconds, moving the iron to avoid scorching.

Here are my notes for your convenience:
Adding color to embellish fabric with Derwent Inktense Pencils
·         Inktense pencils
·         Fabric - white or light colors work best - color will affect the final product. Must be organic fabric not synthetic for permanence.
·         Paint Brushes - reasonable quality - not expensive
·         Activator -textile medium or Aloe Vera Gel  (Brands not terribly important)
·         Imagination and a sense of fun

Drawing or Design options
·         Machine embroidery
·         Permanent pen - I like Micron fine point pens
·         Direct drawing with Inktense pencils

Testing colors - until you know what results you get testing is a good idea.  Also test new ideas on a practice piece.
Coloring in the design
        Shading  - more pencil
        Blending - more than one color
Wetting agent
        required for permanency
        types: Water (highly likely to bleed),  Aloe Vera Gel, Textile medium
        Differences  I have noticed: look, brush care,
        Application - using appropriate brush, getting in smaller spaces.
        Option of adding more color while wet
Drying - allow to dry at least 24 hours - it should not be damp at all

Heat setting - After drying, heat set with a hot dry iron using a press cloth to protect your fabric. 

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

A Christmas Table Topper Island Batik Challenge

The October Island Batik Ambassador challenge almost stumped me.  The rules said "Create a holiday runner or table topper" "Must use an applique technique ( hand or machine)"
The description said "The theme could be Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or another holiday that you love and hold dear."

Hmm.... I love most holidays but picking one was a challenge. I pulled out my Island Batik fabrics and tried to see what holiday I could find the colors I needed to make something interesting. I have several "white/ white-ish" fabrics. Hmmmm....Snow. And in Alabama we may see snow once or twice a year - or not at all. I like the idea of snow, but honestly I prefer that if it snows it is a light snow that lasts one day or less because we simply don't have the preparations in place to deal with it in the South.
I also had several greens, perfect for Christmas trees. Yellow was there also, to make stars for the trees. And since the color blue is often used in snowy scenes, I pulled out some of that also.

I had decided to make an eight pointed star shape for my topper. Why? That was the question I asked myself several times as I worked on this. But, I persevered. And I told myself - it will be more interesting on a table.

I used the blue blender and did a machine embroidered snowflake on it. Then I centered it on my top and appliqued it in place.

Here is a closeup of one of the appliqued trees. I used a decorative stitch on my Janome to sew them in place.

I got the top put together with some embroidery added to the applique pieces. In this photo you can tell that the embroidery stabilizer hasn't been fully removed yet. The background is actually three different Island Batik neutrals. I love how the all go together so well.
Nevertheless, I backed it with another Island Batik neutral and a layer of Hobbs batting and quilted it.
Hmmmmm... it really lacks color and is not what I envisioned. "How can I fix this?" I asked myself. "And how can I add color???" Then I remembered at some time in the past using Derwent Inktense pencils to add color to fabric. I found the pencils and started coloring in the applique designs. All the while I was thinking "If this goes bad, I will have to start over." But it went nicely.
To make the colors from these pencils look nicer, blend and be permanent, I painted over them with some textile medium. (As I am writing this, there are plans to make a video showing how to do this. I will hopefully post that soon.) After it dries, it does need to be heat set. I use a press cloth and a hot iron.

Then came the question " What should I bind it with?" A good friend and designer said "Use the fabric from the center circle applique." Brilliant, I had just enough to do it. Plus, I had a great Aurifil thread that matched the binding fabric perfectly. I sewed the binding to the back and pulled it to the front to topstitch it in place.

The binding unified the design and it looks great on a red tablecloth! I pulled out a few Christmas bits and place them with it for a festive layout.
Now I just need a hot cup of mulled cider and some Christmas goodies - maybe gingerbread or Pfeffernüsse or even sugar cookies and I am all set.

 The Island Batik fabrics, Hobbs batting and Aurifil thread were supplied to me at no charge as an Island batik ambassador. A big Thank You to all of the sponsors of the Island Batik Ambassador program.  I couldn't have done it without you! 

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Wedge Piecing Playtime

The change in seasons -particularly from warm to cold/dark - always affects me.  I suspect that I have a bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  I cope with it pretty well these days. But sometimes I just don't want to do anything but hibernate. 

Last night I broke out of hibernate mode and tried something new to me. I came across my 15 degree wedge ruler that has been in my possession for a long time and unused.  As usual, I went to Google and searched.  I came across my friend, Christina Cameli, showing some wedge ruler piecing ideas.
She has an entire page devoted to wedges.  She has also written a book "The Wedge Quilt Workshop."  I watched the video on that page "Magic Triangle Block."  She demonstrates it with a different  ruler - a 10 degree one.  But the math is simple so I made it with four wedges instead of 6. (6 times ten is 60, but my ruler is a fifteen - so 4 times 15 is 60 also - it works!)

That was easier than I thought it would be.  My rotating mat helped a lot.  This morning I grabbed two more charm squares and made a second one in almost the same fabrics.
I can imagine a quilt made with these blocks. I think it would be fun to make it semi-scrappy.  You should know that all of these edges are bias go gently!  Press, don't iron so that you don't stretch them out of shape.
Any wedge ruler that will add up to 60 degrees will work for this one.  Plus, Christina also has a post on Cutting Wedges without a wedge ruler.

Are you affected by SAD ?  If so would you be willing to share your coping mechanisms?   My best one is to just find something that makes me laugh to binge watch.  Last night it was "Dark Shadows" the late 60's television show.  What?!?! You say "that wasn't funny?"  No, at least it wasn't intended to be funny.  But there are some great bloopers right in the show that were left because of the miniscule budget of  the show.  Those make me laugh - and I laugh at young me who was completely unaware of how ridiculous much of this show was.

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Prepping for a Video

First let me apologize that this post is not going to be very colorful.  Also, let me apologize for not being around much lately.   
I have been working on  a couple of projects that are not ready to be shown yet.  But in the meantime, I am also working on a new video for my YouTube channel.

In the last post, I showed that I was using the Derwent Inktense pencils to add color to a quilt project. I got a few questions AND saw that there is some interest in this technique.  So,  I am planning to share it with you in a how-to video. 

To prepare,  I have been thinking of how best to show the possibilities. To do that, I sewed out some embroidery designs to color in much as I did on my quilted project.  Here are those designs.
 I hope that with the tulip design I can show how to fill  in smaller spaces.  

With this quilting design,  I hope to show how it is possible to stop one color and start another without a stitch line to separate it.  When you can do that, the possibilities increase.

This last photo shows two of the same design, but you will notice that one is much darker.
This is also a single run quilting design. 
That means that the line is essentially a running stitch that is sewn in a single line.
But the one on the left is actually sewn twice.  In the photo it looks slightly blurry.  
There is a reason!
I had  the machine to repeat the pattern a second time, but used the controls on the machine
to push the design one tiny fraction of an inch both down and to the right. 
This makes the line appear darker - and it doesn't look "blurry" in person.
If you have an embroidery machine, realize that it is a tool and you can use it to do things that are a bit different.  You can also stop the machine during a design and change the thread color if you want.

Okay, I can't leave this post "colorless." That just isn't in my nature.

Here is one of my abstract landscape paintings from several years ago. 

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Embellishing To POP a project

Have you ever worked on something and then realized it was not making you happy?   Y'all know that I love lots of color.  When I added some redwork embroidery to my current project I thought it would stand alone.  But when I saw it there beside the applique,  it looked too bland, tame, uninteresting.   As the project was already quilted,  I needed to step outside the box a bit and find a solution.

There are so many ways to embellish fabric, but it becomes trickier when you have already completed the project.  So I took a wild chance and pulled out some colored pencils and started coloring it.
You can see that these are Derwent Inktense pencils.  The pigment is actually an ink so it will be permanent once I heat set it.   To intensify the color (and insure that it will be permanent)  I used a couple of artist paint brushes to apply some textile medium to the colored areas. 
The textile medium makes the ink pigment flow and blend. I used it very sparingly to avoid bleeding past the embroidered lines. 

Here is the completed stocking.
The background fabrics are lovely Island Batik neutrals.

I love the soft hand-painted look that I get when I use these pencils.  In fact there is only one thing that I don't love about them.  The tin doesn't stay closed well on its own.  So I do this to store them.
Two simple rubber banks hold the lid on the tin so that I can pop it in a bag for an "on the go" project without worrying about the tin popping open and spilling my lovely pencils.

Now, this project has to cure and dry - so I will leave it for a day and then heat set it. After that I will do a photo session and post this project so that you can see my new Christmas table toppe

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Another Weaving Project

Saturday morning,  I decided to put a warp on my rigid heddle loom.  I had wound the warp onto the back beam and started pulling the threads thru the holes in the heddle. Then I decided to show you part of the process.
This is called a direct wound warp.  That means that I started by pulling the threads through the slots in the heddle.  This creates two threads in each slot.  One thread is left in the slot and one is pulled through the adjacent hole.
Th thread at the bottom center will stay in the slot. The thread pulled up will go through the hole to its left. Which side you go to is a matter of personal preference- but once you start you have to be consistent on that warp.
This shows better the two thread in each slot. 
You may notice that as I pull the threads through, I pull those pairs to one side to get them out of my way.  You may also see the numbers on the bottom of my heddle.  Those are marked from the center out in one inch increments. This makes it easier to choose where to start pulling the threads through initially.  The center is marked with a straight line.

Once all the holes are threaded, the warp ends are tied onto the front apron rod.
I start in the middle and work my way outward.  First I tie a surgeon's knot. Just like the first part of tying your shoe but you warp the end around an extra time.  Then when they are all tied you go back, give a little tug and make a bow on each bundle.

Of course it is good to see that you have threads in each slot and hole and that the "shed" opens cleanly.  *shed - the opening between the upper and lower threads - this is where you pass the weft thread.
If there is a skipped slot or hole now is the time to either rethread it or decide that you can live with an alternate design.  Good news, all of mine were threaded correctly.

Now I can start weaving.  The first few "picks"  I do without beating in the cloth. Then I beat them all together.  This evens out the tied end of the warp.  (*pick - putting the thread through the shed.  *beating - using the heddle to compress the weft threads against each other.)

You can see that it suddenly gets evened out a few picks in.  Those first picks can be removed when you take the cloth off the loom if desired.
There are several types of shuttle that can be used with a rigid heddle loom.  The red one shown above is my choice when I have a bobbin winder available.  Otherwise a stick shuttle can be used.
There are advantages/disadvantages to both.

After a bit of weaving here are two pictures of my cloth so far.

I have done a few interesting techniques to add patterning and interest to the cloth.  I have shown one of these on a video I did a few years ago.  I have not added any cloth bits to this one yet.  But perhaps I should.

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Friday, October 04, 2019

A Sneak Peek

Here is a quick look at one small part of the table topper I am working on for my Island Batik project for October.

This little snowman is an embroidery design - I wish I could tell you where I got it, but I don't remember.  I didn't find it on Embroidery Library -where I get lots of my designs.

(late addition - this came from Kreative Kiwi Designs.  This one is from Redwork Christmas.  Current price is all of $2.10 USD for all nine designs for a  4x4 hoop)

After sewing out the snowman,  and quilting all around it, I decided to play with my Inktense pencils. I colored in as best I could (it needs a bit of touchup.) Then I went back with a somewhat stiff paintbrush and textile medium to activate the color AND to make it permanent.
You may see that around his nose I slipped a bit.  That just adds to the handmade charm (I keep telling myself. )

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.