Stitch Journeys

Exploring life with needle and thread.

Needle Felted Cuff

I got my copies of Quilting Arts today! I never get over the thrill of seeing an article I wrote in print! This embellishment issues is chock fill of great stuff so be sure to check it out.

 

My article about creating Needle Felted bases for embellishing. I made cuffs out of mine but the same techniques can be used in a wide variety of projects. I love needle felting! Have you tried it yet? It is perfect for creating luscious textures and layers of color that blend and flow together. This project can be made with hand needles or with a needle felting machine.

How about a giveaway? Anyone interested? I have an extra copy of this issue to give away and I will make up a goodie bag of fibers for you to create your own cuff! Leave a comment below to enter. Tell me what your favorite color or color combination is. I will use a random number generator to pick the winner on Aug. 19 2012.

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Fabric Embellishing Additions

The other project I spent finishing up last weekend was putting the edge finishes and tabs on some new pages for my Fabric Embellishing sampler. When we were writing the book Fabric Embellishing; the Basics and Beyond we didn't have time to make pages for some of the techniques that one of the other author's was writing so Ruth and I have been going back and creating some of those with variations from the originals in the book. A lot of the pages that I didn't get done previously were in the 'foundations' section of the book. This one featured above is weaving.



Here we have tucks. Don't you just love the mini pom pom trim? I had a lot of fun with this page seeing how this striped fabric would look tucked.

This is my Stitches and Bits page. I skipped the stitch part and just inserted lots of bits. The yellow strip is plastic kitchen lace (you know the stuff your produce comes bagged in). Just remember not to iron it!

This is my vintage take on the Fashion a frame page. I used a beautiful piece of silk paper in the windows and some vintage bits that seemed to be treasures the young woman in the photo would have kept. I used a hand dyed vintage tea towel for the base and added quite a bit of hand stitching.

This page was a sample that didn't make it into the final cut of Fabric Embellishing. It is a combination of paper, fabric and kitchen produce lace layered. The strips on the left are from a piece of sequin waste that I cut, overlapped and stitched down by machine. The edge finish is pieces of purple produce lace couched down around the edge. I love the little top piece that sticks up straight on the top.
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Checking My List...

 

Not my Christmas list....my to-do list!  Last weekend found me in Breckenridge on a girls quilt weekend and I am so excited to say I  finished some things that have been patiently waiting in the studio for me to return to them.  The piece above is titled Connections. It is a gelatin plate mono-printed fabric which has been embellished with hand stitching. I began this piece with a self-challenge to use my least favorite piece of mono-printed fabric. I love the results.



 

As I was stitching away on it, I found that I kept adding texture in blending colors that are difficult to see. My stitches added subtle texture rather than bold designs. I couldn't seem to change that. One really has to look closely at this piece to discover all the elements. As I continued stitching my barely noticeable stitches I kept thinking of the wonderful friendships in my life. How often the most calm and understated people are the ones you can rely on when the chips are down. The circles tell the story of friends who bring people together in big and small ways. So, my 'ugly' mono-printed fabric became a rich and meaningful piece of art for me...a piece about connections and friendships.

Tomorrow I will show you all a quilt that is about as opposite from this as you can get.

 
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10 Reasons I love Ultra-lightweight Threads

I love, love, love working with Ultra-fine threads. What are ultra-fine threads you ask??? Great question because many of you have probably not run into them at your local quilt shop. Ultra-lightweight threads are threads listed in the 70-100 weight category. Most of these threads are polyester but you can also find them in cotton and silk. Sometimes they are marked as 'bobbin' threads which I find totally funny because it implies they can only be used in the bobbin-NOT true!

1~ Hand Applique: this fine thread glides through the fabrics so smoothly and your stitches are nearly invisible.

2~ Machine Applique: easy to use with machine applique and the stitches are nearly invisible...try it with an invisible hem stitch.

3~ Paper Piecing: The thread you use takes up space along the seam. With intricate paper piecing patterns using a very fine thread helps reduce bulk where multiple seams align. The poly threads do stretch a tiny bit so be careful when pulling off the paper patterns. Try lightly dampening the paper first.

4~Thread Painting: As I wrote above...thread takes up space in the warp and weft of the fabric. Using an ultra-lightweight thread in the bobbin means I can add more decorative threads on top without distortion of the fabric.

5~Quilting in the Ditch: I love these threads for quilting in the ditch...even when you stay slightly out of the ditch the stitch line is so fine that it is difficult to see your mistakes.

6~Stipple quilting: I love to make tight stipple patterns to create a lot of texture in quilting. The ultra-light weight threads allow me to stitch densely without a lot of distortion and without the thread taking over as the star of the show.

7~More thread on the bobbin! This means I don't have to stop and fill a bobbin as often.

8~Economics: These fine threads are usually very inexpensive so I have more cash to spend on the pretty threads!

9~Trapunto: Perfect for faux trapunto techniques. Ultra-lightweight thread allows you to stitch over a previously stitched line in your trapunto design without adding bulk and the ability to stipple densely helps the trapunto design to really pop.

10~Delicate embroidery: When you want a really delicate embroidery the ultra-lightweight threads are perfect for both hand and machine embroidery stitches.

Some of the available brands are:

Mettler: Seralene,

Coats and Clark: Dual Duty XP Fine, Bobbin thread

Madeira: Bobbinfil

Presencia: Finca Bobbin Lace 100

WonderFil: Deco-Bob and InvisaFil

YLI: Silk and Cotton

I know these threads are a bit harder to get your hands on but grab a few spools when you find them. You can find Mettler Seralene at Artistic Artifacts. They are not on the web site yet but Judy does stock some neutral colors...send her an e-mail to find out what she has in stock.
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