Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Road to recovery

Ever been away from something so long you forget how? After that exhausting August, no problem threading the Janome but mis-threaded the bobbin winder. Twice wound up a tangled mess. Goes to show the last thing learned is the first thing forgotten.

To jump start back into quilting, I took another terrific EBHQ workshop at the end of August. Valerie Goodwin gave map making lessons in Map Maker Make Me a Map. Not quite up to speed so I didn't get very far on either of two maps: first Why-o-Y City
Then a map of the Japanese Tea Garden. Don't see it? What about a bird on the back of a pig?

For another boost of creativity another workshop at the end of September: Painting with Machine Embroidery with Carol Shinn . The room full of sewing machines brought me back to much younger days spent at the sweat shop where my mother worked. Those weren't good times but the drone was soothingly meditative as I free-motion embroidered. First: embroidery over painted canvas which started as a rectangle.

Second: embroidery over iron-on image transfer which created a heavily plasticized surface.

For I used my Bernina 830 - no, not the arm-and-leg one, the original - to sew these. In the weekend between tried this out on my Janome 6600P: What a difference! The old Bernina was so easy to use whereas I really had to study the Janome manual to get the settings right for freemotion.

I tried out a stiff non-woven material - truth be told, weed blocker fabric. The image is a freebie from Dover Publications (sign up for their free weekly samples). It'd probably distort more with additional stitching. See Carol's new book Freestyle Machine Embroidery: Techniques and Inspiration for Fiber Art for more information about the distortion. Or take her workshops - she's a terrific instructor.

But that did it. Once again in the habit of going into my studio from 9 to 11pm. And clear headed enough to make visual decisions.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Two more toward goals

I've made progess toward two of my goals: quilting and working with prints. Added borders to the two found log cabins squares: Quilted. Lighter one with Superior Threads Rainbows variegated thread, color 805 Inca Pink using a 2mm twin needle. I don't know how you'd turn corners with twin needles so straight lines from edge to edge. The back shows the bobbin thread pulled between the two top lines. Not the most attractive but they won't show since they'd be inside the pillow cover.
Quilted darker one with Superior Threads Perfect Quilter, a heavier weight cotton, color 093 Redwork. They recommend a size 100/16 needle, but I managed with a 90/14 quilting needle. To develop the quilting pattern, I sketched on tracing paper which layed over the top. Then I drew circles and arcs with a compass on freezer paper, cut them out, ironed them on, and stitched around the edges. Here's the back before the basting stitches were removed: These decorative threads are all goodies from my Superior Threads Home Machine Quilting Sampler Set. A terrific deal! Sure you don't get to choose the colors. I wouldn't have chosen the ones I got. Online colors are not very true anyway. But, wow, you never know what'd work! If you don't want the mixed bag set, you can also get one-sies Try Me Specials .

Their newsletter said Perfect Quilter will be discontinued. Whatever they have left is priced at half-off. Too bad – about the discontinuation I mean, not the half-off. I really like the bolder quilt line. It's a thicker thread than their other 30-wts. Heavier cotton thread is difficult to find. Especially in solids. Their alternative would be Poly Quilter, a polyester thread developed for long arms. But only variegated. And only in 2000-yd. spools.

Now that I've overcome the initial hurdle, I am on to quilt something bigger.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Working non-creatively

When I can't think creatively to save my life, at least I could cleanup and reorganize. Added shelves to the closet for supplies.I love Snapware - great for storage and for carting items to a workshop. But not so great for day-to-day access with all the unsnapping and snapping. The more frequently used items moved into cart drawers for easier accessibility.

The studio may always be in perpetual disarray. Multiple in-progress projects and UFOs don't help. I hid them all in a basket under a chair:
Added more fabric for my next Nancy Crow workshop in the spring. My collection now: Nearly every color stacked to the top. I can quit shopping and concentrate on getting projects done.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lost weeks

Several weeks have been simply devoured by demanding issues on multiple fronts. Whew! Enuff said. Now where was I?

Just before that crazed and exhausting spell, I added borders around those found log cabin squares.

I also made a little bag to hold my camera and a tiny sketchbook using quilted double-sided commercial fabric. My camera is snug as a bug in a rug.
Now that things have quieted down some, I am clearing my cobwebs and getting back to quilting.