Saturday, November 16, 2019

Sunny Skies: Tool Time - November Island Batik Challenge

Welcome to my blog post for the November Island Batik Tool Time challenge.  Roughly half of the Island Batik Ambassadors are doing  "Tool Time" this month, while the alternate group is doing "A Piece Of...." to showcase new fabrics.
I have found that these challenges bring out the best in my quilting.  I love the rush of creating something new while fitting into the challenge theme.

If you saw my post way back in August, you know that I am using Triangles On A Roll as my tool for this challenge.  The top of this quilt was mostly done early, but then life interfered with getting it completed.  However, I did get it finished (and posted) before the end of November, so I am good. Ha ha.

I started by designing the quilt to use lots of half-square triangles - just so I could use the "tool" I had chosen for the challenge.  To use the  Triangles On A Roll  it is necessary to cut pieces of fabric just slightly bigger than the section of paper you are using.  I discovered that with these I only wanted it big enough to do twelve sets of triangles at most. If you can read the fine print on this photo you can tell that for four units, you will need two 10" squares.  Since I was using some squares from an Island Batik Stack of Sunny Side Up, this was perfect for me.

I also used some yardage. For those units I could use more than one section of four at a time.
** Late addition: It is on the instructions but I want to remind you that you should lower your stitch length to make it easier to tear away the paper.

It was challenging but also fun to sort out the color arrangement. I had worked that out prior to starting using another tool that I love: Electric Quilt 8.

I made lots of half square triangles, 96 if you are counting! I probably made a few extra that will show up in a scrap quilt later.  I also used the Accuquilt Go! cutter and a die from the Qube Companion set "Angles" for the inner border that completes the design.  Accuquilt gave each ambassador a cutter and Qube 8" set.  However,  I did purchase the "Angles" companion set as I saw the value in having it for designs I want to make.
There are 48 border units so it was a big help. The border units are made with the angle die "14" from the Qube 8" Corner Companion.  This die makes the sides of the Triangle in a Square block. When you join two of them, they create a 4" by 2" section.  That worked perfectly with my Triangles On a Roll units.
You can see the border units on the far left of the photo.
I used Hobbs Premium Cotton batting for this quilt as I expect it to be used and washed a lot. With this batting I can machine wash and dry the quilt with no worries. I love using Hobbs Batting.

The quilting thread is from Aurifil and was in my July box of goodies that were provided to me from Island Batik and partners.

It is a subtly variegated yellow to white.  It is so subtle that I originally thought it was just yellow.  I realized that it was variegated when I started winding bobbins for quilting.  It worked out fantastically on the quilt.

So now, how about some quilt photos?

Draped on an old fence
After two days of rain, it is amazing how beautiful that blue sky looks.

On the ground in a field

Sunny Skies on the porch steps under skies that are indeed sunny today. 

Full View, taken from the porch with the quilt laid on the ground

The Island Batik fabric, Hobbs batting, Aurifil thread, and the Accuquilt Go! cutter were given to me as an Island Batik Ambassador in consideration for promoting these brands while creating the challenge quilts.

I love using these fine products for creating glorious quilts and quilted items.

I hope you are finding a way to stay creative too. Remember, a few minutes each day will add up to great accomplishments if you are consistent.

I hope you have been following the Island Batik "A Piece Of...." Blog hop.  If not you can find the round up of week two HERE.  You should really be following as there are some wonderful giveaways involved.

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.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Binding Ready to Apply

"How do you eat an elephant?" the little girl asked.  Her wise old grandfather replied, "A little bit at a time!"

This quilt is coming together "a little bit at a time."  True, there is no elephant involved.  Still, when you are so busy with other things in life, you can still fit in a creative project in the time that you do have.  For this quilt, I chose a lovely yellow fabric for the binding.  This one is called Tossed Mermaids from the Islander line by Island Batik
Isn't it fun and whimsical?
It was difficult to use this fun design and cut it up  because I know as a binding you would not see the mermaids.  But the color goes very well with my blue and yellow quilt.  So, I cut it.

The binding is rolled up on an empty Aurifil spool waiting until I have time to sew it onto the quilt.  I used the same yellow variegated Aurifil thread to join the binding as I used for quilting.
I will also be using it to sew on the binding and sew it down. I love this thread! 

Remember that you can find time to fit some creativity into your day. 

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, November 08, 2019

Checking In (Sneak Peek)

The November challenge quilt that I am making for the Island Batik Ambassador program is now all quilted.  I just need to cut binding and sew it on. 
I can't show you the quilt top just yet.   So,  I did the "swirled quilt" photo that I have been seeing on social media. 

I love the fabric and the quilt.  It will be so nice to snuggle in during the cold snap that is starting tonight here in my area of Alabama.  I need to get busy making and attaching the binding! 
But today I will be helping Mom with a financial matter and that will take some time.  Maybe I can get the binding made this weekend. 
Wish me luck.
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, November 04, 2019

Starting Quilting

Last week, I finally got my November Island Batik Challenge quilt basted.  Then I sewed some stabilizing stitches in the seams of the columns.  I confess I didn't go back and do the rows. 
Today I started quilting it.  I am using my variation of a design I learned in a Leah Day class on BluPrint.  It is called Alien Fingers, but when I do it they become Freaky Alien Fingers as I meander about with them instead of making "hands" with them. 
Seriously though, I love the effect especially after it is washed and gets crinkly.  To me that says it is a comfortable quilt.

I love this blue and yellow together. 

I am using a lovely yellow Aurifil thread to quilt it with.  I didn't realize until I had wound four bobbins that it is a variegated yellow and white.  I think it is perfect for this quilt.

It just looks yellow on the spool. 
FYI the two bobbins on top of the spool pin are for this quilt.  The two on bottom are my go-to piecing thread - a 50 weight cream/bisque.  Since I rarely use two spools at once, I use that spool pin for bobbin storage.  In my limited space, it is a perfect solution.

The photo thing wasn't working again. I hope you can see the photos. I used the solution that the blogger help community offered.

I showed my Facebook Fans the Funky Friend that I made for the Island Batik booth at Quilt Market. So I am going to show it to you here. This is Pete. He is made with a pattern from The Funky Friends Factory.   The fabric Pete is made from will be coming to stores in February.  Pete is made from the Santa Fe line of Island Batik fabrics.  Isn't he just adorable?
Puppy Dog Pete

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, November 02, 2019

Catching Up

***Sorry for some strange reason the photo part of Blogger is not working for me. Hopefully now you will see photos as I did some 'internet magic'***

It has been a week since I posted - mostly because I didn't have much to post. I did some stabilizing stitches on my November challenge quilt. (Yikes it is already November and I am not ready!) But that is not something that is exciting to show since it is "in the ditch" quilting - and I am not ready to show the quilt top.

One thing that I also do is weaving. And as this week has been spent more with Mom and medical appointments, I am using this 15 inch Schacht rigid heddle loom as it travels well.

This loom comes with a stick shuttle that you wind by hand. But I prefer to use a boat shuttle that has bobbins that you can wind on a bobbin winder - or  for portability,  a cordless drill.
Stick shuttle
Boat shuttle and Bobbins
For bulkier yarns, I do use the stick shuttle. But for this project I am using thread-like yarns that come on cones.
Yarn Cones on Left

I am doing one of my favorite techniques that is called clasped weft or "two color interlock."  We made a video on this technique that you can find here .

I love to unroll the cloth beam and look at my work.
Blogger is being quirky today and not allowing me to upload the photos in the usual way, so if this post looks a bit "odd" I apologise, but I am not in control of it.

I must tell you that until Mom is back to normal,  my posts may be sporadic. Feel free to email me 
photo to deter spammers. 
I must tell you about an upcoming blog hop!  The Island Batik Ambassadors who were not in the earlier blog hop this year are getting their turn in November.
So I am going to send you to the Island Batik Blog for full details AND a giveaway.
Island Batik Blog Post
The prize is this precut bundle of the new Little Sir Little Miss line
There are many delightful prints in this Batik line from Island Batik

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 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.