Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Crazy Quilted Collar

What a great feeling to finish another crazy quilt project.  This is my second collar using the beautiful Gooseberry Hills pattern.  I absolutely love the design with the offset panels in the front and the off-center back. 
I've always wanted to do some project using only Kreinik metallic threads.   Those who know me well, know this is my very favorite thread.  With this black and gold background  I thought this would be the perfect project.  I have also used the Kreinik Serica and Bella silk threads to create the row on tiny embroidered flowers on the left front panel.
Many crazy quilters love the sparkle and glitz that can be achieved with all those bright and shiny embellishments.  The Kreinik metallics provide the perfect seam treatment to accomplish this.
I've also incorporated several beautiful things that have been given to me over the years.  I am so fortunate to have many talented and generous friends. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Woven Embroidery

      I'm always looking for a new embroidery design  and recently found this while searching the internet.  I'm sure I haven't done it exactly right but I do like the look of the woven threads.

I've used a #4 Kreinik very fine braid.  The designer button in the center is the perfect touch and matches the thread exactly.  The button was a gift from a friend and had been in my "stash." for several years.  It couldn't be more perfect.

I've used an awl to make a hole for the shank of the button.  A 1/4" plastic ring secures it on the reverse side and allows the button to lie flush against the fabric.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"A Crazy Year in Texas"

I  cannot believe I'm almost finished with my very first crazy quilt design.  I call it "A Crazy Year in Texas" but it's actually two crazy years.  I began on July 12, 2010.   My local crazy quilt bee and several other friends have been stitching along side me and testing my patterns and instructions.  I wish you could see all the work these amazing ladies have done.  With each one adding their own personal touch and interpretation, no two blocks are alike.

I would love to list all my favorite tools, products, threads, ribbons, etc. but space does not permit that.  Some of my very favorites include:  Kreinik Threads, Hanah Silks, Carole Sample's Dream-a-Seam templates, Connie James' Diva Custom Cordmaker, Sulky Heat-away and my Igolochkoy Russian punch needle.  A very special thank-you to Linda in New Mexico for creating the beautiful tatted ghosts and crinoline ladies.

All that remains is the final assembly, tying and adding the mitered three inch borders.  This is the part that really strikes fear.  Crazy quilting is forgiving. There is no such thing as a mistake - just an opportunity for embellishing.   If I make a "mistake" I can always cover it with a silk ribbon motif and you will never know it's there.

Mitering those corners and stitching everything together isn't that forgiving when mistakes are made.  So wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

MIA Once Again

When life gets busy I seem to forget my blog and I always regret doing that.  I will try to do better.  I logged on today to retrieve some photos.   I ruined my laptop last week by accidentally spilling water onto the keyboard.  I have many photos of my work saved here as well as in Webshots

While browsing around and surfing with Google I noticed some of my work had been posted on Pinterest.  One member stated she would like to make the silk flowers in the photo so I thought I would post some directions. 

I saw flowers similar to these on a very old vintage crazy quilt and loved them.   They reminded me of the yo-yo's we used to make so I began my experimenting.  I found if I made a slight oval instead of a round circle it worked better as a petal.  It's also necessary to gather them extremely loose and allow the silk to fall into place.   I call them my yo-yo roses.

I love working with silk, especially the Hanah silk ribbons; they are as lightweight as a feather and easy to manipulate.  You can use any lightweight silk (habatoi or blouse weight but not as heavy as dupioni.)  You can often find silk blouses at a resale shop and use this silk for flower designs.

Start by cutting out five pieces of silk by the oval pictured below.  It should measure approximately 2 1/8" by 1 3/4".  With each of the 5 pieces fold the raw edges inward, approximately 1/4", to wrong side of fabric and stitch with a running stitch in a matching thread.  Pull thread and gather each oval very loosely.

Draw a center onto your fabric at the proper placement.  I use a blue disappearing pen.  With the first gathered yo-yo, tack one of the longer edges to the outside edge of the drawn center.  Tack the opposite edge directly across.  Loosely work the side edges of the oval into place being sure to hide your gathering stitches as much as possible.  Tack in several places.  Add the remaining four petals.

In order to gauge the size of your center make the 5 gathered petals and lay them in place.  You will be able to see the exact size your flower will be and know what size center looks best.

I like to fill the center with beads and add several silk leaves.  I burnish the edges of the leaves to prevent fraying and use a fine metallic gold featherstitch to attach them.

I hope you will enjoy experimenting and making the flowers.  Remember to let the silk drape into place and do not pull the petals so they appear taunt.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hydrangeas in May

I enjoy working with the Sulky Heat-Away and have used this product to make the fence pictured here. It is my understanding they have discontinued the fiber and will only produce the film.

I enjoy using the woven fiber since it works beautifully in a hoop and have not tried the film.

I love the look of the hydrangea growing along the fence line. I was told the soil determines the color of the blossom and all those colors could not grow in the same place. I have chosen to ignore this basic fact and allow my "artistic license" to have free reign. I've used this motif on my May block of the month.

I was introduced to the Sulky Heat-Away product by Valerie Hearder. I had the pleasure of interviewing her and doing a book review in She has an amazing talent and I was so pleased to learn this lovely technique.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Creating with Kreinik Silk Serica

I've been experimenting today with a new flower for my November block of the month. Kreinik has some beautiful silk threads and I chose one of them for this particular flower.

It was an all day project but I'm really pleased with the completed flowers. I've done three in this motif with each one measuring 1 1/4" in diameter.

The leaves are made with 4mm silk ribbon and the fly stitch.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Joy of Creating

I love to create beginning with an almost blank slate. In this particular case it was three pieces of white silk in various patterns, weights and textures. The goal I had in mind was a free-form poinsettia for my December block of the month.

Most importantly in the process was dyeing these silks in those perfect colors I love and enjoy working with. Ozecraft dyes are one of my favorites and I've recently found a great online site for ordering. To achieve the exact color, I'll pull in several different products, however, including Rit dye.

Perhaps the more challenging part is taking that poinsettia you've drawn on paper and pulling apart each individual piece and creating a puzzle with the silk pieces. And of course, the absolute joy and satisfaction that's found in putting it all back together again.

The silks are dyed, the puzzle pieces are cut and it's just waiting for me to stitch it in place. In fact, this poinsettia is just another "almost blank slate" waiting to be stitched down with the perfect threads. The beauty of the poinsettia will come alive on fabric with the completion of the stamen. Of course, the final step is finding the perfect beads and threads to accomplish this.

I've not strictly adhered to the "rules" of crazy quilting or silk ribbon embroidery for that matter. All twelve of my blocks were meant to be a challenge to me in addition to a canvas of all the many things I've learned over the past eleven years I've crazy quilted.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Has it Been That Long? Surely Not!

What a surprise to see the numbers of months that have passed since I last posted. Time has a way of passing far more quickly than one imagines. In my defense I will say I've been busy creating and stitching.

In July, 2010 I started designing and creating a crazy quilted block of the month. I've always wanted to do this but was never quite sure of my ability to accomplish such a huge task. It's been a fun and rewarding journey and I am pleased to say that I am definitely going to complete the project.

I am beyond excited to be finishing with November and starting on December. I've named it "A Crazy Year in Texas" and it depicts the seasons, holidays and celebrations of my native state.

My local Crazy Quilt Bee has been so supportive in stitching along with me and testing my patterns. It would have been impossible without their encouragement and I'm so thankful to each of them.

You can see the January block in the current issue of It was the most difficult block to do and my least favorite. I love flowers and nothing blooms in January!

February gave me the freedom to create those tiny flowers so I took full advantage of the opportunity. Pictured here are two hearts totally encrusted with all those flowers I couldn't use in January. After finishing the hearts I appliqued them to the block.

I've had a number of requests for the patterns so that's my next major task. The idea of marketing my creation is an exciting challenge but I've come full circle and back to the question of whether I can accomplish such a daunting task.