New and Old Things

Let’s start with the old. Do you even remember when I started this project? I don’t. But the other day I was cleaning out my closet and I remembered this very large project. I was going to make panels with front and back, and then do that “quilt as you go thing” to put them all together into a very big quilt. The front has 7 inch squares with a one inch border, and my idea was to embroider in all the borders. So I got one out and started embroidering on it again. It takes a long time to embroider each border. So I went back into the closet to see how many panels I had left to do. When I finish this panel, there will be four panels done. AND EIGHT PANELS LEFT TO GO! I was kind of complaining about this to my BF, and she said, why not just put the four panels together into a smaller quilt? Brilliant!! There are other things I’d rather be embroidering.

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I finished this next quilt in time for the Intersection of Faith and Arts Conference. It was actually a lot of work to piece together the background, and to embroider all that writing on it. I had thought about doing a series of these, with Biblical blocks in the background, and important (to me) verses on the front. But I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to do that again. Well, I had three people comment that they would like to buy this quilt, and so that encouraged me to make the next one. Its always nice to hear that people appreciate your work. (This verse is Matt. 11:28-29 from Eugene Peterson’s The Message.)

THE UNFORCED RHYTHMS OF GRACE

I really like making these improv cris-cross blocks. No ruler or rotary cutter necessary! So I made a bunch of samples in case anyone wanted me to teach this. Very fun to make. (And yes, I did square them up at the end so I could easily put borders on them.)

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And lastly, I am always so very happy when I get a picture from a workshop participant telling me that she finished her class project! Because, to be honest, I seldom finish workshop projects. I especially love the colorful border that she put on this project. Thank you so much for sharing!

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I’m back in the studio finally. I spent half a day cleaning up (yes, still more needs to be done but there’s at least room to move around in there!)

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A Finish and a Flub

Remember that very sparkly piece I was working on? The fabric from Joann’s? Well, yes, I finally finished it, and I decided to wash it because the darn black attracts so much lint and dog hair. I should have just worked on brushing that dog hair off. Because, the GOLD washed away in the washing machine!!!

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Here’s one close-up. You can see where the steel color is showing through.

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There were a few places, like this one, where the gold stayed on better. Anyway, that was a lot of work for all the gold to wash off!

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I started this piece a few weeks before Christmas. I saw something like it on the screen at church. French knots, I thought! So all those dots in the sky are french knots. I used quite a few different colored pale threads in 4 sizes–perle cotton size 3, 5, 8, and 12. What I really liked was that I had a dark blue for the sky, and then I also had a piece of dark blue with a lot of little squares on it, which would work for the town. As I neared the end, I decided that I wanted to include the shepherds and  sheep and the angel with her words of good tidings! I used some wool thread that I had bought recently to outline the town and the angel and the shepherds.

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To be fair, I googled “french knot sheep” and of course, there were plenty of examples! I was trying to make them too complicated.

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The back was a mess, since I went all the way through to quilt the french knots down. So I put a second back on, and quilted a bit to stabilize the whole thing (four layers.) It makes it quite sturdy. I do like this piece a lot.

I forgot to mention that I was teaching Quilted Embroidery again at The Cotton Patch this past Saturday. It was such a nice class of women. They all seemed to enjoy working on their sample piece to learn some simple embroidery stitches. It was a lot of driving in the rain, but I do like driving over to Lafayette–it takes me through the Delta, and it is a very pretty drive.

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.

 

Black and Batting

Black fabric and batting. These two things do not belong together. They shouldn’t even be in the same room! And I’m not even going to talk about black fabric and TWO PUGS  THAT NEVER STOP SHEDDING. Anyway, for some reason I seem drawn to black recently, and its been a trial. I do have a large stockpile of those sticky rollers to remove lint from black fabric, and I’ve gone through quite a few of them in the past month or so.

Anyway, here’s what I did with that “garage photo” that I liked so much.  (scroll down for the description of the garage photo) First of all, I realized after the fact that I liked mine upside down from what the original artist did. Second of all, I gathered a nice collection of neutral threads and I planned to embroider all the marks and scars on the original garage doors. I kept staring at the picture, and that did not sound very fun to me at all. So I drew a little sketch filling it up with circles, and that appealed to me (of course.) The colors of the cloth were so bright that the neutral threads looked great on them. It was hard for me to stick with the neutral threads through the whole thing. And I did try to explore as many ways of embroidering circles as I could think of. Here’s the end result.

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Then, I found this very sparkly gold fabric at Joann’s. I had seen it several times but passed it up because what was I going to do with it? Then, on my last visit, I thought, hey, what if I embroidered on it? So then I drew another sketch and made a grid. I put a few white squares in my sketch, but when I went looking for fabric, I found this bird print that I really like, so that’s what I included in the grid. I’m taking a trip soon, so this will be my travel project. I’m pretty excited about it.

Choosing the thread colors is the best part of any project:

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I am going to Ohio for Sauder Village Rug Week. My rug, “He Holds All Creation Together” was chosen to be one of the Celebration rugs. I have wanted to go to Sauder for several years, so this was as good an excuse as any to go. Maybe when I come back I’ll get back to my rug hooking projects!

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!

Another Finish

This was a quilt blank that I made before my surgery. I had visions of some glorious embroidery covering the entire quilt. Unfortunately, following my surgery, I didn’t seem able to make even one decision on where and how to stitch.

Then one day, in a link from someone’s blog, I heard a well-known artist say that you would never  be able to recreate the vision that was in your head. Ha. Yes, that sounds very familiar. I ended up embroidering this piece pretty much the same way I stitch most pieces. Still, I am pleased with it.

I didn’t create it with “light” being the theme of the piece, but that seemed an obvious choice as I went along. I used Bible Gateway to search “light” in the New Testament, and picked out some of my favorite verses. I did have a new idea of filling the “frame” of this piece with these verses, and using the most familiar verse “I Am the Light of the World” as the header.

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After it was all done, and bound and washed, I decided to try adding some beads to it.

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What’s Happening!

Well, sorry I haven’t written for a while. My excuse is that I did not enjoy sitting at my desk with my knee dangling. And, I got distracted with other things 🙂

In just a few weeks I will be teaching Quilted Embroidery at Quilting in the Garden at Alden Lane Nursery. And, I am the guest artist, so I will have an exhibit of my quilts in their beautiful greenhouse! I was so excited when I talked to Cyndee and found that my class was full. So I have been busy putting kits together, and then going through my quilts organizing which ones I want to take for the exhibit. Checking to see if I need to make sleeves for any of them (yes, I do 😦 ). And then working on trying to finish up some smaller pieces.

Here’s what I finished this weekend:

Pink is Pink:

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Close-ups:

I experimented with different fabrics and threads in this piece.

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The circle is wool. Some of the thread is silk, the rest is perle cotton.

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I tried fabric weaving in a couple of the blocks.

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My Guide:

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The verse  says, “He is my God forever and ever and He will guide me until I die.”

Close-ups:

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This was a little experimental piece I started a LONG time ago. It was just from a doodle in my journal. And then I got tired of it/started new projects/forgot about it/took it out and was uninspired to finish it… And then I decided it was too pretty to leave it unfinished.

I hope if you’re in the area you will come to Quilting in the Garden! Its a wonderful show in a beautiful garden, and there are some great classes offered along with the show.

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?

 

 

 

The Memory Quilt

I finished piecing all the blocks for the memory quilt. I mis-calculated, so there are 12 repeat blocks. Otherwise, all of the blocks are made of a different center square. There are 156 blocks. The finished quilt will be 90″ X 97.5″. That is the biggest quilt I have made in a long time.

I sewed the blocks into panels either 4X4 or 3X4, and made them into quilt sandwiches. The idea is that it will be easier to embroider around each block in this smaller size. I steamed the layers together and then actually quilted at the seam lines and basted around the outer edge. And then I will sew them together into one big quilt–that quilt-as-you-go thing. I have never done this, but Katie PM does it quite often and demonstrated it at the class I took from her. It looked easy.

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I finished the embroidery on one panel. Only 144 blocks to go 🙂 It takes quite a bit of time to embroider around one block–usually an evening. This quilt might take a LONG time to completely finish!

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One of the ideas I had was that these would be good projects to work on after I have my knee surgery in July. So I’m happy to have all 12 of these mini-quilts ready to go, waiting in my closet.

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I still love store-bought fabrics. Its just fabulous to find fabric that someone else designed, but that has your own color and design aesthetic all ready for you to use. Elephants were my favorite wild animal as a kid, and after I went to Africa, I collected quite a few elephant fabrics.

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You can see I am still using my same simple stitches in various combinations.

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So far this has been a completely enjoyable project. I loved going through my stash and cutting out squares of all the fabrics that I liked, and so many that held special memories for me.

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Of course, this is not the only project I am working on. I will try to catch you up on some of the other projects in the next week or two.

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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