Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Little of This and a Little of That

I have to share a picture with you of my dear friend, Julie (Jules) Notice the beautiful pin she is pointing to. It is a wonderful likeness of Julie painted by another dear friend, Stephanie.

I have been blessed with so many wonderful friends and the majority of them are also fabulous artists. I didn't get a close-up of the pin but Julie posted it to her blog. Be sure and check it out.

I've been busy writing articles for CQMagOnline. The April issue should be posted online the last part of the month. This is a busy time for all of us who write for the magazine and especially busy for Rissa, our editor.

I've written an article on another dear friend's edge-dyeing technique. Lynnis has outlined step-by-step instructions that are very easy and I think you will enjoy experimenting with her technique.

I've done a follow-up article on Valerie Hearder's newest book, POINTS OF VIEW. I completed my project, "Autumn Oak" and have written some of the highlights of my experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and learned so many new techniques that I can carry over into my crazy quilting.

I have two new products to share with everyone and have written a review on both. Bohin has a wonderful mechanical chalk pencil that is a must. Several in our local CQ Bee have signed up for classes in November with Carole Samples. I've been experimenting with her templates and using this pencil to mark my lines. It work fantastic and can even be erased if the need arises.

Another of my very favorite vendors is Kreinik Threads. They have introduced three new metallic colors to their line and also a 3/8" trim.

My last article will be the Ideas and Inspiration Challenge I issued in January. I have some fabulous work to show you with lots of examples, instructions, and eye candy. You will not want to miss this article - it has lots of inspiring work.

Friday, March 21, 2008

It Must BeTime to Bead

I just received this gorgeous cabochon from Vic. Of course I was instantly in the mood to pick up my beads and start beading. Before I get totally involved, however, I thought I would share some cabs I have done over the years.

In this picture one is a cab and the other two are buttons with the shank removed. The red and gold ones are the buttons.

Several years ago I posted in one of my Yahoo groups some steps in beading a cab so thought I would share that with all of you.

1. Using Fabri-Tac or E6000, glue a cabochon or button with a flat back (you can cut shanks off) to a piece of felt about an inch larger than the button. Only glue the center of the button and not around the edges. This will prevent you getting a needle through. Let this dry overnight.

2. Add a row of beads around the outside of the button. I thread on 5 beads, going back down through the felt angling toward the center of the button. Come back up at the 3rd. bead, putting thread through the 3, 4, & 5 bead and adding 5 more. Continue this step until you have circled the button. I used one color of bead on this row but that is optional.

3. Add a second row of beads around the outside of row 1 of bead following the same technique. You will cut the felt even with row 2 when that is complete so make sure your thread goes in at an angle toward the center of the button. Otherwise you will cut threads as you trim the felt away. On this row I alternated two colors.

4. Working with about 18" of beading thread, a color matching the beads if possible, bury your knot. The smaller the bead you use now, the more delicate the frill.

5. Put 3 beads on the needle, go down through the felt about one bead width away from where you came up with the needle. Turn the button over and put your needle up and through the last bead that you threaded on. Turn the button over and add 2 beads and follow the step above: put your needle down through the felt about one bead width away from where you came up, turn the button over and put your needle up and through the last bead. Turn the button over and add 2 more beads and repeat this process until you have circled the button. End with 2 beads, come up through the second bead and add one and go down through the very first bead where you started. Stabilize with a knot.

6. Bring your needle and thread up through the last bead. Notice how the beads form a step row: one up, one down, one up line around the button. On this row you will be going through the one up bead in each sequence. Add 3 beads then thread through the top bead of the step row. Repeat this around the entire circle.

7. If you choose you can knot off with the row or add one additional row for a fuller frill. If you add an additional row you will bring your needle and thread up through the last bead, add 3 beads then thread through the top bead of the previous step row. Repeat around the entire circle.
The cab on the right is a large metal button covered with fabric and them embellished with silk ribbon embroidery. I did the button but the beading was done by dear friend, Lynnis.

I was slowly drawn into trying more complicated patterns. The black velvet one below is one of those. It is also a large metal button covered with velvet and embellished with silk ribbon. I totally encased this one with a beaded picot stitch. Fairly easy to do but it certainly takes a long time.

I just had to have necklaces to match when I finished these cabochons so that called for more beading.

I love to collect old jewelry and take it apart saving some of the more beautiful stones to use in my beading.

My real love is crazy quilting and silk ribbon embroidery but beading is also very rewarding.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Great Find.....

I wanted to share with you a wonderful book I just purchased online. It's an EBook that you can download in either a .jpg or .pdf format. In her book, ELEGANT CRAZY QUILT SEAM TREATMENTS, Pam Kellogg shares her technique of using waste canvas to produce a perfect seam treatment. Included in this 42-page book are 12 pages filled with beautiful patterns.

I feel I need to make a confession at this point. Pam suggests in her book that you start with the larger size canvas. I had high expectations of myself so disregarded this valuable bit of advice and started with the 14 count. I strongly recommend beginning with the 8.5 count canvas.

If you have ever dreamed of creating beautifully spaced and precise seam treatments this book is a must. It is well-written and the instructions are easy to follow in both written and diagram form.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Our Annual Wall Hanging

Each year a group of friends get together and create blocks for a wall hanging to be donated to a hospital breast cancer center. Our group evolved from Victoria Adams Brown's Way to Women's Wellness Foundation and her ArtBra creations. We receive so much personal satisfaction and joy by sharing our love of crazy quilting and fiber art.

Everyone loves "eye candy" so today I will share pictures of the blocks that have been completed. Each year we pick a theme and color choices. This year Stephanie suggested butterflies and the colors of Springtime. Her beautiful block is pictured on the right.

Below is Mary's block. You will want to click on each block and see a larger version of the wonderful stitches and embellishments.

The next photo is of Julie's (Jules) block. I love seeing how each one carries out the butterfly theme. (photo below)

Allie's block (photo below) has butterflies in flight similar to Julie's.

Linda has done the next block. The photo I received is smaller but I think you will be able to see all the wonderful stitching.

I have included my two blocks in earlier posts but will add them again.

Vic has received six of the blocks that are pictured here and taken a photo of them together. They blend so beautifully.

I have photos of four blocks that are nearing completion so I will post those as well.

I always look forward to seeing Rengin's work. She uses the oyas on her block which are an ancient needle art of her country, Turkey.

Below is Judith's block.

The last two are made by Jan and Lynnis.

These ladies have done some amazing work and I know you will enjoy browsing through each photo. Should you have any comments or questions on the blocks please leave a comment. We love sharing our work and welcome your input.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My Billfold Creation

I've always enjoyed creating patterns for purses and even billfolds. On the right side of my blog you will find a link to my webshots if you would like to see some of the purses I've made over the years. Today I thought I would share some pictures of my billfold.

Knowing that it would be handled quite a bit, I was limited with my use of embellishments. My favorite motif is this spray of lilacs. They are done with the bullion stitch.

I chose a beautiful cotton fabric with gold highlights for the lining. The outside pieces are crazy quilted in coordinating colors.

I decided I needed a small change purse for coins and made a little pouch to insert into the wallet. It has ended up being my business card holder.

I really enjoyed making this billfold and even created a pattern just in case I decided to do another one.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Just When I Think I've Seen it All.....

Tuesday is one of my favorite days of the week. This is the day our crazy quilt group meets and we always have such a wonderful time. We share ideas and techniques and spend the entire day stitching and visiting.

We love to discover some new gadget or invention that the others have not thought of. This is not an easy task since our group has been stitching together for so long... but it doesn't prevent us from trying. Today Maureen came up with one of those new techniques and I just have to share with all of you.

She has taken her husbands electric drill and instead of a drill bit she's inserted one of her large plastic hairpins. In this picture she is demonstrating how she winds silk ribbon into wonderful little spools. With a little practice you can wind a perfect spool.

She also discovered that she can edge-dye the ribbon by brushing the dye onto the rolled spool. By not wetting the ribbon she can get a more defined edge. With the edge dyed you can then dampen the ribbon and over dye it.

In this picture you can see some of the neat little rolls of 2mm, 4mm and 7mm ribbon. She has even wound some on a bobbin.

Maureen has proven to me that I really haven't seen everything yet.

The Silk Ribbon Heirloom Yahoo group is having a needle case exchange and I've finished mine. Several years ago I bought a pattern from Gooseberry Hill. I decided to use this design for my needle case.

I used a beautiful piece of blue and green brocade lined with a blue/gray silk satin.

I've used Hanah silk satin ribbon for the tie and the colors blend beautifully with the brocade fabric.

Forty have signed up for the exchange and I can't wait to see all the beautiful needle cases made by the talented women in this group.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Grapes continued...

Many thanks for the comments on my beaded grapes. I was asked where to find the drop beads and I've included one website under favorite artists and websites on the right side of my blog. These beads come in several sizes and I find the smaller ones work best for crazy quilt motifs.

Since grapes make wonderful embellishments for crazy quilting I thought I would share other motifs I have made. The first is a large grape leaf cut from hand-dyed silk. I've made templates in several sizes, traced the outline onto silk with a pencil, and then burned the edges.

The grapes in this motif are French knots made with 7mm variegated silk ribbon. A few #11 purple beads are attached to the leaf along with the veins using either a stem stitch or feather stitch.

I enjoy adding the tiny tendrils made from a single-ply flower thread. Wet a length of the thread with Aleene's Stiffen Quik (Quick Drying Fabric Stiffening Spray). Wrap the thread tightly on a pin and allow to dry thoroughly. I leave a long tail on the tendril to use in attaching it to the fabric. I purchased the Stiffen Quik from Hobby Lobby but I'm sure it's available through other fabric and craft stores.

The tendrils can be seen more clearly in the picture to the left. These grapes are made with the cast-on stitch. Sharon Boggon offers a great tutorial for doing the cast-on on her blog.

My most rewarding experience with creating grapes developed from my 2006 WTWW calendar creation; "Grape Expectations." Many of you are familiar with the wonderful work done by Victoria Adams Brown in bringing awareness to the issues of breast cancer.

I dyed all my fabrics with the exception of the silk dupioni that covered the bra. I had 3 sizes of grape leaves, hand-dyed and then painted with highlights. I used the product mentioned above, Alleene's Stiffen Quik, to make the leaves hold their shape.

The grapes were formed with small circles of hand-dyed silk filled with fiberfill. I found if I used beads I could dangle them in clusters.

The vines were made with floral wire wrapped in 7mm silk ribbon. I cannot tell you what a joy it was to make this bra. It is so rewarding to start with a piece of white silk and an idea and watch it develop.