Something New

I spent a little time on Pinterest exploring Kantha Embroidery. I saw several things that were interesting. I saw some raw edge simple kantha embroidery that interested me. It looked like the strips had been torn. I didn’t want to do that, because when you tear cotton, it can get really distorted. Talking with my BF, she suggested cutting the strips and then washing them. So that’s what I did. I free-cut a lot of strips of mostly neutral fabrics. And then I put them in lingerie bags and washed them. I was surprised at how frayed they got even in the lingerie bags! Then I prepared a quilt sandwich with muslin on both sides and a cotton batting in the middle. I hand basted it, and then started. And here is the finished product. It was very fun to do.

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When I looked back on Pinterest, I noticed that something like this was called Japanese Boro quilting…

Here’s a close-up so you can see how I did it. On each piece, I quilted all the way through on each side so it would be quilted. On the stitching in between, I just went through the top and batting.

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Then I saw on Pinterest a very complex Kantha Embroidery. I kept that on my iPad for a long time. It was more complex than I really wanted to do, but it intrigued me. So finally I drew something and put that on cloth with the blue marker and started my own embroidery. I am enjoying working on this.

Here’s the blue drawing. As usual, I will add more as I go along:

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And here is what I’ve done so far:

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Close-up:

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Also, I finished that “Parable of the Seeds” rug. It is about 24″ X 26″. This is the fastest I’ve ever finished a rug. It was simple and very fun to work on.

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And here is a shot of my garden for those of you who don’t read my other blog:

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Its time to clean up the studio! And organize my rug wool. Its getting out of hand!

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Christmas is a Time to Finish Things!

I notice I have this pattern at Christmas. I like to finish things. So far I have knit four scarves from my handspun yarn for gifts. Not just knit them, but I blocked them too! And then I decided I had delayed finishing this Christmas quilt for too long. so I just went out there and finished the quilting. I put a binding on it, and then it needed a lot of blocking because of the embroidery in the middle. I’m not 100% sure that I accomplished what I was trying to achieve with this quilt.

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If you remember, the embroidery was done with the Cottage Threads perle cotton from Australia.

Here are some close-ups:

The lettering:

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Embroidered motifs:

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I added a little embroidery to the trees and “rocks”:

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And, I finished my Kantha blanket! The running stitches are about 1/2 inch apart. I also put two lines of turquoise thread 1/4 inch apart about every six inches, just to add some interest. The rest of the quilt was stitched with some variegated silk thread that I bought at a weaver’s convention!

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Oh, and most importantly, at Christmas time I always feel pressured to try to finish my rug that I started this past February. I would like to share it FINISHED when I go to my rug hooking thing this February, but I’m afraid there is a lot that is still unfinished. I wrote “make a cow” for three or four weeks on my weekly to-do list. Somehow I get afraid of rug hooking when I don’t do it consistently. But finally, I DID make a cow :))

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I also hooked the entire hillside behind her. It took several mornings to finish that.

If I don’t write again before Christmas, I hope everyone has a very merry and blessed Christmas.

 

Another Kantha Stitching

Do you remember this little piece that I made a few years ago?

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I decided to try to make another one, a bit larger. For both of them I made a quilt sandwich and then quilted a grid on it. Some of the design elements go through the grid, but most designs are kept inside of the grid.

When I looked at this older one from a distance, I could see that the lighter lines provided some kind of design element. So I decided to do that more purposefully on the new piece. I filled in all the lighter lines first, and then put in the brighter, darker designs. Finally, I got out my darker thread to fill in the backgrounds.

Its funny, with most anything I do, there comes a time when I am bored with it. I usually don’t put it away, but I just won’t pick it up and stitch on it for quite a while. And then one day, I pick it up again, and just keep stitching until it is finished.

To finish it, I cut one edge off at a time at about 1/4 inch, and satin stitched it with #5 perle cotton thread. (I cut one edge at a time because I didn’t want it to get frayed as I worked.)

Here is the new piece:

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And some close-ups:

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Here is a picture of the back of the piece. I hope you can see the grid that I quilted before starting the embroidery. This piece is about 14″ X 11.” The grid is just a series of squares and rectangles.

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This is a fun project. I recommend trying it. It is already quilted by the grid. So the running stitches just go through the top and the batting for the most part.

I Can’t Help Myself

One day, (before finishing the churn dash quilt or doing that darn quilt photography) I looked at a picture on my photo board. It was a pretty quilt with large swatches of fabrics, and I had written–“be more adventurous in my quilting.” I just liked that idea of using big pieces of fabric.

And…I had an ulterior motive. I needed a new kantha blanket to work on in the evenings!

So I chose some fabrics that I loved, and I started putting this quilt together. Surprise, it only took me one day to piece these big pieces of fabric together.

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I made a quilt sandwich, using Dharma Trading Company’s “harem cloth” which was a cotton gauze, and muslin for the backing.

I had bought a skein of hand dyed silk at the weaver’s convention, a similar size to #8 perle cotton. I marked lines about 6″ apart on the quilt, and kantha stitched those lines to stabilize the quilt. I don’t know if you can see it, but I decided to add two lines of perle cotton in a turquoise just for something different to do.

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Of course, I have other embroidery to get back to. But when I don’t want to think any more, a kantha blanket is the perfect project to work on!

Teaching and Catching Up

I will be teaching Quilted Embroidery in a couple of places in the next few weeks. I will be teaching a 3 hour Intro to Quilted Embroidery at Oak Hills Church (scroll down for Art Immersion Week) on Thursday July 26. And I will be teaching a 6 hour class at The Cotton Patch on Saturday August 4, also on Quilted Embroidery.

I got an email from one of my students in a previous class. I am always thrilled to see that some students enjoyed the class and finish their project! Jackie got creative and added a small panel to the bottom of her piece so it would fit in her wire frame. I love it!

Jackie’s work:

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And catching up on what I’ve been working on–I finished this kantha blanket. I used all 12 gauge perle cotton (and a few Sulky blendables in 12 weight) to embroider this blanket.

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I went to Convergence (Spinners and Weavers Guild) in Reno last weekend. I can’t stop spinning some of the fiber I got there!

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And finally, sometimes things don’t work out quite the way you want them to. This is the word PEACE on my big PEACE quilt. Those letters are about 8-10 inches high. It took a long time to embroider the uprights on each letter. But because I used white thread on white fabric to outline the letters, it is basically unreadable. I will use the ecru thread to outline stitch along the white thread. I do mean for the writing on this quilt to be subtle. But I still want it to be readable 🙂

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There are 12 verses scattered around this quilt, all about PEACE. I have started the quilting, and hope to finish it in the next month or so.

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More is happening here in the woods, but that will have to wait for another post!

Catching Up

Posting on Instagram has been fun. Its easy to take a picture at the end of the day and write a sentence or two about what you’ve been doing. So here’s what I’ve been doing since my last post. My Instagram name is debbyschnabel.

I finished another kantha blanket. This is one I pieced last fall just before I went to Art Quilt Tahoe. I really liked the central tree panel, and just chose some nice fabrics to go along with it. Still needs to be washed and blocked a bit.

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Taking a break from embroidering on the Wonderful Counselor quilt. Considering next steps. I think I still need some embroidery in there between the words. And maybe some embroidery in the borders, although I do plan to machine quilt most of the borders.

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Close-up of the words. You can see I used the blue disappearing ink quite a bit on this quilt. I did a sample to make sure the ink would come out before I used it on this radiance fabric (hand dyed 50/50 cotton/silk)

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Close-ups of some of the embroidery:

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I started working consistently on the big PEACE quilt. While it was still on the design wall, I chose 12 spots to put verses and marked those spots with the blue disappearing ink, and chose 12 verses about peace. Its been fun to choose a verse, write it in the spot, and get it embroidered on there. I am hoping that this will be the next quilt I machine quilt.

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Right now this quilt is under the Juki. I am taking my time and trying to quilt it nicely. I made it a long time ago, and I still like it.

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I got it into my head that I should do another sample quilt from the quilt kits I put together. So fun to make small pieces like this. The small pink triangles are actually the leftover pieces from cutting out the big pink circle! I am teaching Quilted Embroidery at the Cotton Patch on April 21. 

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And since I finished my kantha blanket and am taking a break from the Wonderful Counselor embroidery, I needed something to work on. Out came the big mitered square blanket. I laid it out on my bed and marked how much larger I want it to be, so at least I now have an ending place in mind. Still a lot to do on it. I’m using bits and pieces of leftover yarns and some of my old handspun yarn too.

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Sunday my sister called and asked if I had ever made a jelly roll quilt. Well, once I made a top using hand cut strips, basically the same as a jelly roll. As I talked with her about the math and how to do it, I remembered I had a project box with some leftover strips in it–leftover from the big PEACE quilt. They were cut 1/2 inch finished and 1 1/2 inch finished. Most of the 1/2 inch strips were brights and darks. Most of the 1 1/2 inch strips were neutrals. So I started sewing those together. I couldn’t believe it when I sewed the narrow and wider strips together–they were exactly the same length! So then I did a little math, and realized that there still was not enough for a decent sized quilt. I did some more math, and decided that if I would make some 3 inch finished strips, that would make the quilt big enough. For the 3 inch strips, I used both neutral and bright fabrics. I sewed everything together without planning. And when I finally finished, and threw it on my bed, I was really pleased with how pretty it was. Now I’m just thinking about how to quilt it.

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Speaking of quilting, one thing I have been doing lately, is going to Joann’s when they have a sale on (haha, when do they NOT have a sale on,) and buying four or more yards of one fabric so that I have quilt backs for my never-ending box of quilt tops that I have not finished. Since I don’t seem to be too good at selling, I have enjoyed finding places to donate quilts for people that might enjoy them. A young couple I met are working with Afghan refugees that are coming to Sacramento. I told them I could send some quilts to them.

I hope all of you are enjoying your creative time. Just working consistently every day it is surprising how much you can accomplish.

 

Hexie Holidays

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I think I mentioned before that I’d been working on a hexi project. It turned out to be the perfect project to work on in the evening during the holidays. They are 3/4 inch English Paper Piecing hexis. I ran into some trouble when I tried to do separate pieces and they wouldn’t fit together. It seems impossible, but true. I finally figured out that I was putting some together clockwise, and others counterclockwise. Still, they’re all hexies, they SHOULD fit together. Anyway, that made me paranoid and I decided that I just had to work on putting them all together in one piece. The bigger the piece got, the harder it was to work with. One day in church I got an idea to make a quilt out of them called “I’m Done!”

But they were still in a very weird sorta diamond shape. Not what I envisioned for my new idea. So I put the piece up on the design wall and put my hexies just so to make it the shape I wanted–kind of an amoeba shape. Surprisingly, it was fairly easy to take it up and down off of the design wall and add the extra shapes. I pinned each one carefully with a safety pin so that there was no doubt about where it went and how it needed to fit together.

So here’s my semi-final composition. I still need to decide on a backing fabric, and put it back up on the design wall (thus the picture 🙂 )

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In the meantime, I also am working on a kantha blanket. Its just a large print of trees that I really liked, put together with some other really pretty fabrics that I had in my stash.

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I’ve progressed much farther than this (just doing straight kantha stitching) and the edges were starting to bug me. I used cotton gauze for the middle of the sandwich instead of batting (to mimic how actual kantha stitching is done). It made the edges very flimsy. So I put the binding on it! Much nicer.

I have so many projects that I am working on right now. Mostly just for fun, and finishing some series, making more quilt sandwiches and doing more quilting. I’ll be back later in the week to share some of these projects!

 

An Unexpected Finish

As I stitched on various projects in the evening, I started to realize that I was close to finishing one quilt. So I started to concentrate on stitching on that one. Maybe I could finish one more project before surgery!

And sure enough, on Friday evening, I took the last stitch. I don’t usually quilt on Saturday, but I couldn’t resist applying the binding in the morning, and then when I returned from the gym in the afternoon, I set to work hand stitching the binding down. I rarely hand stitch binding any more, but I figured with all the handwork on this quilt, it deserved it. And besides, I really enjoyed working on this quilt, and it just extended the joy for one more day.

Which quilt is it? Its the second Kantha blanket. On this one, because of all the different blocks and seams, I decided to stitch each block, in the hopes of avoiding most of the seams. The pattern is so busy that I don’t think the different stitching makes a  big difference in the  overall appearance of the quilt.

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I used DMC Coton Floche for the stitching, and it was wonderful to stitch with, but a bit more frail than perle cotton, and also I noticed that it pulled more easily when, ahem, little doggies’ toenails got caught in the thread….  I used a nice thin cotton batting, and muslin for the backing, so again, it was extremely pleasant to stitch. I am sure I will do another one of these, perhaps with a less busy pattern, and maybe I can do more variation with the direction of the stitching.

Some close-ups so you can see the different direction of the stitching.

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And this will probably be my last post for a while. I have four project boxes all ready for my post-op period! Hopefully I’ll have plenty to share with you by the time I feel up to blogging again!

Something Old, Something New

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Something old: I washed an older quilt and put it on my bed to fold it up, and thought I would share it with you. I call this quilt “I Live in Pine Grove.” I do live in Pine Grove, and at the time I made this quilt there was a lot of different fabric with pine trees and pine branches and pine needles on it. I had so much fun collecting all the different pine fabrics. I had just a few fabrics with birds on them, and I made all the blocks and then had fun fitting them together. I hand quilted it. And it is still a quilt that I like very much.

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A new finish: After agonizing over each area–should I add more stitching here? What about this area? How should I do the background? I finally just took the plunge, and finished all the stitching on this quilt. My BF was here for a one day visit, and she asked if I had considered turning it sideways. I hadn’t, but the more I looked at it that way, the more I thought that was the way it should be!

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I wanted to wash it before I blocked it and finished the edge, so I zigzagged around the edge and washed it very gently. And then blocked it on my design wall. I thought about how I wanted to finish the edge, and I decided that I want to do a hand-finished edge. I will do a satin stitch with perle cotton all around the edge. I am going to use the ecru thread that I used for the background. It is busy enough–no need to add any more color to it.

After I cut the edges to their final size, I stitched very carefully around the edge, just to keep it nice and neat while I hand stitch the edge.

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I did enjoy using chain stitch to color in some of the solid areas. Close-up of stitching:

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Something new: And then I wanted to play and make another small quilt to embroider. I LOVE the piece that I used for the What They Said series:

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And so I chose some new fabrics, and made the same block, only larger. Starting with one background fabric, you cut and insert strips and then a circle and then more strips, etc. Very fun to do. I want to explore this more!

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Of course now that I’ve got it done and the sandwich made and basted and all, its like I get all shy, and I don’t know how I want to stitch it! But I’ll just think about it for a bit. That’s part of the fun, isn’t it?

 

 

 

Projects and Project Boxes

I am a multiple project type of gal. I like having multiple projects to work on. But sometimes I get carried away and the projects multiply faster than I can work on them. And that can be overwhelming. That’s when the project boxes come in handy. I can put some of the projects neatly away for a bit. They are all ready for when the mood strikes, but they are not laying around making me feel guilty for the way I choose to work.

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Recently I saw a tiny picture somewhere. It was just a simple quilt, a kind of a square in a square, and I thought, that would be a neat way to use my kantha stitching. It seemed to be a scrappy quilt, and the main square was large with the outer square being more of a frame (where I would embellish with kantha stitching.) Here, like this:

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So I went out and went through my stash, and had great fun cutting out hunks of all my favorite fabrics, and then carefully cutting them into 6 inch squares. I have enough to make each block a different fabric!

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As I cut the squares, I had great fun re-visiting old and new favorite fabrics. It occurred to me that this is a great idea for a memory quilt. So many memories are attached to my fabric–where I was when I bought it, who I was with, and sometimes even the quilts that I have made with the fabric.

Here are some of the other projects I am working on presently. And even more are in project boxes…

Here is the piece that I showed you bits of previously. I have to take long breaks with this one to figure out what I want to do next. So far, each time it seems like “adding more” is the best solution…

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I got out the ten little pieces that I intended for the “Characteristics of God” series. I am making them into sandwiches and embroidering the words on them.

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And in the evenings, this one seems to have taken preeminence, because it is so enjoyable to stitch on with that DMC Coton Floche thread. I choose one block to work on, and then choose the threads that I want to use. It usually takes an evening to stitch one block.

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