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Friday, July 29, 2011

Embroidery Lesson #2 Coming Along

Oh my aching hands. They truly hurt, but it's for the greater good. I love my bag! I finished the front tonight. Look at Tinkerbell... she kind of looks gothy but I'm using a bigger needle because of the heavy canvas. I'm so pleased. All of the designs are from Jenny Hart's Sublime Stitching website, except for the Tinkerbell image. She's sitting on one of Jenny's flowers. This is the closest I'll ever get to tattooing (there was once a time I wanted to be a tattoo artist). After I finish the back (just four images), it's the GFG hex quilt until it's done.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Viva La Transfer Pen!

<< front << back
The transfer pen... it's like a light saber! The Tinkerbell images I found online, traced the images (I've had for forever, hoping they'd be tattoos) on to vellum, and ironed them on. I was so scared to make that first mark, but slowly and carefully, I transferred them. This is still an embroidery lesson for me, as I got the blank canvas bags from Walmart (3 in a pack). What an ambitious lesson, but here I go. After I finish this bag, I'm going to work full time on the GFG quilt.

BTW, the bad girl images (and the Sulky transfer pen) came from Jenny Hart's Sublime Stitching. I LOVE her site, but I'm guessing you all knew that. The vellum I got from Amazon.com.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Embroidery Lesson Complete!

The Sublime Stitching sampler is finished. This was really a fun and quick project. The straight stitches around the edge were supposed to be threaded (loose thread looped in and out of the stitches), but the fabric I used has too much stretch and was too slippery, so it didn't work. The cretan stitch was fun, I love the chain stitches, love the lazy daisy stitch. I love the white daisy on the bottom right hand corner. The fans were fun too. Now I'm looking for any fabric that is calling for some exquisite colors to be stitched through it. Next up are some blank canvas tote bags. I ordered more of Jenny Hart's designs, and the tote bags will be the canvas for them.
Some of the designs I'll have to actually use a transfer pen and some vellum to make the the transfer. This is so reminding me of Arts and Crafts class in school.
Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sublime, Sublime, Sublime!!!

These are the hex blocks I've finished and pressed so far (all but one, yellow upper right). I hope my excitement for making the GFG quilt continues. I'm so excited. I still can't believe that the EPP method is still better for me than machine piecing. I don't mind piecing while watching my Leave It To Beaver dvds. I do need new REAL prescription glasses, because the whipstitching is killing me. I'm so in love with EPP. I'm actually taking my papers out of my blocks once I'm done whipstitching everything together. I found a really cool method for sewing the pieces together:
Angie's Bits n' Pieces (I didn't see the page about cutting the batting the same size... dang. Duly noted for my 4th quilt). Just like when I was cutting the thousands of hexes, I'll just keep making the hex blocks until there are no hexes left! Mind over matter.

Here is my full attempt at my first Sublime Stitching lesson. It's coming so easy, but I'm not a stranger to embroidery, as I attempted it on my first quilt. Out of all the stitches on the sampler I've done, I can say that I'm not fond of her "magic chain" stitch. Too cumbersome. The "fan" blanket stitch is so fun. I actually adding my own originality to the bottom fan. The "french knots" are fun, as was blending the light/dark threads for the "fern" stitch. I did the majority of this at work, so it's a cool portable project.

I don't know why quilting and embroidery are a natural marriage made in heaven for me. I have other embroidery ideas running through my head (blank canvas bags, vintage thrift store shirts, hankies, pillow cases, dish towels, etc). I received my Sublime Stitching order today - pink scissors with green case (love), glow in the dark thread (love), the fierce transfer patterns, and a transfer marker. I can't wait to tear into them. I also received my transfer vellum, a 4" embroidery hoop, and more embroidery thread from Amazon.com (105 skeins). The only thing I still have left to come in is a set of colored transfer pens (Amazon.com). Once they do, I'm done for awhile. I'm still going to order the transfer vellum from Jenny Hart, just because the envelope is so cool looking. I have to take a break from spending all my money for now... I'm a craft hoarder! All I need now is just more white cotton fabric, but I'm not going to buy any until I completely run out.... it's white after all.

Stay tuned!

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Love English Paper Piecing!!!

The verdict is in - I love English Paper Piecing! Who would have thought it would be possible, that extra work would be more fun? I like that the method is more precise than machine sewing, and even hand piecing... and I can do it at work! The edges are already finished and easy to whip stitch to the other hexes, and I don't have to deal with seam allowances. I'm saying this under the guise of just making one flower using this method. On the 2nd picture, I removed the paper template from the yellow center to see how easy it was to remove... and it was easy. I'm going to hole punch the center of all my paper templates, so they can be easier to pop out. I'm also going to use a large paper clip to hold the fabric onto the template while I'm basting it on. I don't like the pin holes from the straight pins.

I also decided to embroider designs all over the quilt because I'm using solid colored fabrics. I purchased a couple of really cool embroidery books from my favorite store on Earth:
1. Embroidered Effects: Projects and Patterns to Inspire Your Stitching (Sublime Stitching) by Jenny Hart

2. Sublime Stitching: Hundreds of Hip Embroidery Patterns and How-To by Jenny Hart

3. Sublime Stitching Craft Pad by Jenny Hart

4. Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection: 400+ Easy Embroidery Designs by Aimee Ray

The designs in these books are really cool and contemporary. I also ordered from Jenny Hart's website Sublime Stitching. As usual, I went a little overboard. I'm loving the contemporary designs, so I ordered 4 sets (Fantasy Flowers, Rock 'n' Roll, Bon Voyage, Sexy Librarians; pink scissors, a transfer pen, and glow in the dark thread.) I will do the embroidery on the finished flowers, before I stitch them together for the quilt top. I can't wait.

Stay tuned. I have a lonnnng way to go...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My First Flower

In the midst of cutting the hexs, I had to take some to work to get started on the piecing, to see what I was up against. The top 3 pictures are of the first flower I hand pieced tonight. The bottom left picture is of some hexs I basted using the English Paper Piecing method. I'm going to complete a flower using the EPP method, then compare the results of the two methods. Of course, the hand piecing method, using the running stitch, was much quicker, but it's not quite accurate - the colored petals don't have the Inklingo printing on them because they were all cut from the Moda Bella 30's jelly rolls. I had to eyeball the 1/4" seam allowance. I'm putting a small ruler and a white pencil in my tool bag for tomorrow. We'll see how it turns out. Check out my teeny tiny iron by Clover. I used it to press the seams open in the photos above. Sometimes, the big iron is just too... big.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Halfway Thru The Cutting

All the flower petals have been cut from the Moda Bella jelly rolls (in the ziplock bag... 2 jelly rolls, 40 strips each, 16 hexs per strip = 1,280 hexs cut). They have no Inklingo markings on them, so I haven't figured out if I'm going to hand stitch them or machine stitch them. The green is for the background of the flowers, and the yellow print is for the flower centers. I've finished printing on the yellow print. I still have tons of green to print... 4 yards worth. I cut all the fabric to 8" x 11", and after I'm done printing, I have to cut all the shapes. I still have to cut the white fabric. I cut some of what was left over from the backing from the 1st quilt. I'm happy with the printing for the full sheets, as I knew I'd be. It's back breaking work though. Listening to my iPod while I'm cutting makes the time go by fast. I hope the colors I've chosen (or that have chosen me) aren't boring. Hopefully, this won't be the last Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt I'll make. I'm hoping to be done with the quilt within 2 months... lol.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Finished on 7-9-2011!

I finished! I'm so happy. It's not perfect, and it's such a study in what not to do (must match up seams!!!) The binding kicked my azz. I couldn't figure out for the life of me how to line up the edges for the bias binding. It was like putting a puzzle together. Finally, it all came together. I loved doing the blindstitch. The quilt is not as big as I anticipated it to be, after trimming off about 3 inches, which I used for the binding. Had I finished it when I finished the quilt top back in 1995, it would have maybe taken me a month to complete the whole thing... not 16 years! I'll be packing it up and sending it to my daughter.

I've started rotary cutting the 1" hexagons for my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt.

I'm going for a queen sized quilt. I purchased the Inklingo software system by Linda Franz, where you can print shapes directly onto fabric with a regular inkjet printer. The concept is good, but it's a bit of a hassle when trying to print on jelly roll strips, which are 2.5" wide. I think it's good to print on full sized sheets of fabric (8.5 x 11). I have fallen in love with the Easy Hexagon ruler by Sharon Hultgren. I absolutely love it. It's so easy to make the hexagons. Flip the fabric once, flip the ruler once, and rotary cut those suckers out! I'll still use the Inklingo software for the future fat quarters I'll buy (my yellow centers and green paths). Live and learn. With the leftover hexies (from cutting them from a jelly roll strip, I can get 16 one inch hexies), I'll use them for the edge of the quilt, and I'm going to use the English Paper Piecing method (using the papers inside). I think I'm going to machine piece the rest of the quilt... it depends. I'm predicting that this will take me no more than 2-3 months... no more than that!

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm Tackling the Beast!

My first quilt may kill me! I'm so worn out from handling it, but I'm making great progress. I'm not going to take another pic until it's done. I'm brewing up ideas for #2 - grandmother's flower garden quilt (GFG), and #3 the Rush quilt. I purchased the Inklingo Hexagon files (1" and 1.25", and all the freebies on her site). After reading for a week, I had to get freezer paper (Reynolds Aluminum 391 Freezer Paper) - the kind you wrap meat in. You have to iron the freezer paper onto the right side of the fabric to make it stable enough to run through an ink jet printer. The shapes print on the wrong side for cutting. I'm in love - see my results (my very first time printing - 1" hexagons.)

I also got my first jelly roll from Fabric.com. I'm not real happy with them because I purchased 2 and there was only one in the box! Suffice it to say, they got a very politely curt phone call immediately upon opening the box, and they're sending out the other roll promptly. That's not a good way to start off a consumer relationship, but they have some gorgeous fabrics.

I'm going to finish my GFG quilt with the technique shown here, created by Badskirt.
I also got the photo fabric paper for the Rush quilt. After I begin the GFG quilt, I may start transferring the cd cover photos.... though maybe not. I want to finish my projects before I begin another.