Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gelatin Print Jacket

The gelatin print jacket is done. I think this will become a class. Let me know if you're interested :-)


Wednesday, March 23, 2011


After deciding on a color scheme pattern I started on the back. Since it is the largest canvas to be covered I usually create the back first. In this picture the lower left portion is stitched in place while the upper right portion is just pinned. Progress is good!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Digital Books

In a recent discussion someone suggested that in the future many quilting books would be available for viewing on a computer set up in quilt shops. After perusing the digital books the customer may select the one(s) desired and the shop clerk will print it out for you. Or you may purchase your own digital version.

Personally I prefer to keep a paper copy of my reference books, etc. My computer is not in my studio because the dust, lint etc. inherent from working with fabrics is bad for the computer. And I don't like to purchase books I can't see and touch with my hands. Although I may check out books online I'm not likely to purchase them until they arrive at my local quilt store or show. There's something about being able to hold them in my hands, see the quality of the paper and the photos, the thickness of the cover, etc.

What about you? Would you prefer quilt stores to have computers that show you the books they have for sale (they could certainly carry many more of them!) or are you old fashioned like me?


Friday, March 18, 2011

In Process

I am working on a sample piece for a class I'm teaching in April to the Fallbrook Quilt Guild http://www.fallbrookquiltguild.com/index.html. I've made this several times before, but I thought this time it might be interesting to show you some of the thought process and decision making that goes along with it.

I selected a variety of fabrics in slightly greyed pastels. After cutting them I auditioned them in several different ways.

In this sample I chose to separate the colors from other similar colors. That way the curves show to their best advantage. It looks distinctly choppy, but is that what I want?

Then I repositioned them so that they rainbowed through the color range. See how the curves are no longer the focus? Now color is the focus. But is this what I want? If color was my main focus I could strip piece this more easily. Do the curves still show enough?

In this final photo I limed my color palette further by eliminating the warm colors and using only the cooler colors, blue through yellowish green.

Okay, your turn. If you have an opinion I'd love to hear what you would decide and why. Post a message or drop me an email.

A Pillow!

I don't normally make pillows, but I needed something for the library. This matches the red couch and brings in the colors from the rug. In creating the design I took a 16" square of paper and divided it into eighths by drawing a horizontal line, a vertical line and 2 diagonal lines all passing through the center. Then I drew a design in only one of the eighths. I took it to my lightbox and traced it onto the other 7 areas. This way I got the symmetry I wanted without having to draw each side equally.

I fused the fabric in place and covered the raw edges with a double buttonhole stitch on my sewing machine. So quick and easy I think I'll make a few more!

I'm entering it into the Blogger's Pillow Party because she's the one who inspired me to get this done. Check it out!

Blogger's Pillow Party


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Steps in Quilting: Label and Binding

Labels are absolutely necessary for your quilts and wearable art. What information should a good label contain? That varies greatly. On my labels I put the name of the piece, my name and the date finished. Other people add where they live, laundering instructions (REALLY good idea if it's a gift), the source and name of the pattern and, if a gift, the intended recipient.

Labels can be made so many ways: cross stitched, machine or hand embroidered, photo transfer, etc., etc. I seem to be in a hurry to finish things so I write mine on the computer, choose a font and size that I like, then print it on paper. Using a light box and a permanent pen (Micron is my favorite for durability and non-bleeding properties) I trace the label onto a rectangle of matching fabric. Quick and easy.

Binding. Yes, you can machine bind your quilts and they will look fine. I just never do it. Call me old fashioned, but all my jackets have double fold bias binding that is machine attached to the front of the jacket then wrapped around to the inside where I hand sew it in place. It takes more time, but to me it's the final step before I send it out into the world for all to see. I can think about what inspired me, compare my initial vision to the result, see what worked and what did not. I cogitate on what I could have done differently, ask "What if?". And when I'm done IT'S FINISHED!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gelatin Prints

Guess what I've been doing? Playing with gelatin prints. Christina and I had fun playing with them when she visited me, but that was at our old house. The new place has the most fabulous gardens. I barely scratched the surface with these prints.

What are gelatin prints? You seriously have never tried them? They are too much fun! You make extra thick unflavored gelatin in a flat pan, tip it out onto your work surface. slap some fabric paint on it, use a breyer to smooth it out then gently press various things onto it to get monoprints. These are actually the second of several different prints you can get. Want to know more? Here's where I got the info: http://www.amazon.com/Create-Your-Own-Hand-Printed-Cloth/dp/1571204393 and her inspirational blog: http://studio78notes.blogspot.com/ I'm a huge fan of Rayna :-)
Guess what I'm making with these...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Steps in Quilting: Embellishments

Whether you embellish before or after quilting depends on what you're using as embellishments.

Paint may be used either before quilting to add highlights, define a face, etc. or after quilting to add color within a quilted area or as a wash over the quilted surface which adds interesting texture (but is really scary to do!).

Beads, charms, buttons and other hard embellishments are obviously much happier when you add them after quilting. I have a vest I call the Seven Needle Vest because that's how many sewing machine needles I broke while finishing the edges of the vest.

When attaching beads, buttons, etc. you may use regular sewing thread, but you will be much happier if you use a heavier thread. I like Nymo thread for my beads. It comes in a variety of colors and you should try to match the color to the background fabric. Buttonhole thread and even dental floss may be used for really heavy embellishments. You can even color unwaxed dental floss using a permanent marker, but don't forget to wait until it has dried and I wouldn't try washing it since it's very difficult to heat set.

Obviously you don't want to look at the back of your quilt and see the thread so I recommend the following technique. Make a knot in the thread and pop it through the top layer only of your quilt as you would when starting hand quilting. Come up where you want the first bead. Take 3 tiny stitches through the top fabric in that location to further secure the thread. * Then add a bead, stitch through the top fabric only, another tiny stitch, go through the bead again (going through each bead twice makes the bead stand up so the color shows nicely), then down into the fabric and travel between the layers to the position of your next bead. Repeat from *. To finish the thread take 3 tiny stitches under the last bead sewn, make a small knot, travel between the layers and pop the knot inside. Trim off the end of the thread. (Again this is the technique used to secure a line of hand quilting stitches.)

Soft embellishments that are meant to hang free such as prairie points, lace, etc. are obviously added during the top assembly, before quilting. The problem comes deciding what to do with them while quilting. If you don't mind having them quilted down in places, but want to make sure they don't flip the wrong way you may stitch them down using wash-away thread or tack them in place using some washable glue. If you want them free and you're quilting it yourself I recommend hand tacking them out of the way. If it's a large piece it can be rolled up tightly and tacked. If someone else is quilting it for you then it's best to ask them how they'd like you to handle it.

Have fun adding embellishments to your quilts and wearables.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Whisper Quilt F, The Final Quilt

Here is the final Whisper Quilt in the second group. Karen received Kathy's landscape quilt and immediately recognized it as a landscape. She had never done a diamond landscape (think Jan Krentz style) so she made this little gem. And it looks absolutely nothing like the quilt with which I started the series.

The Whisper Quilt project was great fun and I recommend it to your group. I have a list of the rules our group used if anyone is interested.

I'm off to sew,

Friday, March 11, 2011

Whisper Quilt E

Kathy received Jerre's fall quilt, pondered over it and this is the result. Stunning!

One more Whisper Quilt then back to my latest work.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Whisper Quilt D

When Jerre received Susan's quilt she immediately thought seasons (good job Susan!) and decided to portray fall in her quilt. Jerre couldn't quite remember which way was up (kind of like my original whisper quilt). I think she said this was the correct way... Lisa

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Whisper Quilt C

So Susan looked at Joan's flower quilt and said Oh! It's a quilt about the seasons. I'll make a spring quilt. So she did with flowers and growth and sun and water. Then she passed her quilt along to Jerre.


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Whisper Quilt B

So Joan received my abstract whisper quilt. She looked and looked, but couldn't even decide which way was up! Eventually though she decided that she saw flowers (good job Joan!) and so made this floral quilt on a batik background.

Then she returned my quilt to me and passed hers along to Susan.


Monday, March 07, 2011

Whisper Quilt A

The second group of whisper quilts has finished. When I passed around a sign up sheet for those interested there were 10 people on it. That plus me seemed like too many and I was afraid interest would wane or someone would move away before we were finished so I divided them into two groups. I started both groups.

This is the quilt I used to start the second group. I will use letters instead of numbers for this group so no one gets confused. The two groups really had nothing to do with each other except that they signed up at the same time.

This quilt was intentionally abstract although to me it was an abstract picture of flowers. I thought it would be interesting to see where this one would go. Stay tuned to find out.


Friday, March 04, 2011


I have been working on other things besides the Whisper Quilts projects. (Yes, there were two sets of Whisper Quilts and I will post the other set starting Monday.)

I find it nearly impossible to watch most television shows without something else to occupy me. I generally have a handwork project (or two or three) ongoing and occasionally I finish one. Botanica is the result of one such project.

I took a class from Leora Raikin http://aflembroidery.com/index.htm and fell in love with the threads she sells. I also rediscovered my love for hand embroidery. I started playing around with the idea of a jacket and here is the result. It doesn't look much like Leora's work because, for one thing, I didn't put it on a black background. While I agree it looks great on black I have enough black jackets already and it is not my best color. So I shopped around for a neutral background and this is what I chose.
Another reason it doesn't look like her work is that I used different designs. I have a large number of Dover copyright free booklets and so I selected some flowers that had a scale appropriate for a jacket.
(Have you noticed that my mannequin looks a bit canted forward? I'm not sure why, perhaps trauma from so many moves, poor dear. Oh well, you get the idea, right?)

Finally a closeup. The whipped running stitch between the flower designs covers the seams since I made each flower type on a separate piece of fabric. I hope you like it!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Whisper Quilt 6, The Final Quilt

So Karen received Anne's Whisper Quilt and, like the rest of them, said "What the heck?"

What she saw and kept coming back to was the road so she finally decided that she should make a topographic map.
I think she did a wonderful job and isn't it fun to see where my Manta Ray went after all the changes? We had a great time with this and stretched a bit out of our comfort zones. I suggest you get a group of friends together and give it a try, too!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Whisper Quilt 5

Anne received Elaine's quilt and was totally puzzled. An octopus? seeds? little kids? She finally decided that the quilt was depicting various places to go in the San Diego area.

Anne took that as her inspiration and created this quilt as an ode to Carlsbad. You can see the flower fields, the ocean and interstate 5. Once she was done she passed it along to Karen, the final person in their group.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Whisper Quilt 4

So Elaine looked at Diane's Yellow Submarine and saw Beatles and underwater and naturally chose to portray Octopus's Garden. She has a cute packet of seeds and flowers, kids swimming, pail and shovels, etc. All very cleverly done.

Elaine returned Diane's quilt to her and passed Her own quilt along to Anne.