Stitch Journeys

Exploring life with needle and thread.

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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Fabric Nirvana: vintage finds new life of color

I love color...doesn't everyone? Intense, bold, almost pure colors that emit an energy all their own and slightly greyed colors that look like you know cool jazz sounds.  I also love vintage fabrics which are usually found in pale shades and tints evoking a gentler elegant era. Yes, I am a Gemini! I seem to be attracted to things that are seemingly opposite to each other. When I first met Judy Gula I was stunned to find that this cheerful woman had looked into my fabric and vintage stash, thrown it all into a blender to create this:Perfection! The most wonderful combination of vintage fabrics and amazing color I had ever seen.The tale gets worse for me...or at least my pocketbook anyway....Judy owns a store, Artistic Artifacts and she teaches people how to dye fabric to achieve incredible results just like the fabric she sells. Fabric nirvana!

a selection from Judy's dye class 2010



For you, the story gets better because Judy is bringing her class on dyeing and collage to Textile Evolution this August! Not only will she share her dyeing expertise so you can create a big pile of incredible fabrics but she will also show you how to create silk paper and fabric paper and how to combine all those delicious beautiful things into a fabric collage that can hang with the best of them. Judy will also teach you how to use all those little bits and bobs that you have been saving but don't exactly know what to do with. Even if you have never made an art quilt before Judy will lead you fearlessly down that path and you will have a blast doing it.  Judy rarely teaches away from her store in VA so don't miss this chance to learn from one of the best!

I almost forgot to mention that Judy is also teaching a charm necklace class that eliminates the torch, solder and stress of jewelry making. Judy brings her eclectic style to her  jewelry as well as her fiber art and combines them when ever possible.

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Indigo and Shibori a magical combination

Indigo and Shibori dyed commercial tee and skirt









I would like to introduce you all to Ruth Chandler, one of my co-author's of Fabric Embellishing: Basics and Beyond and a wonderful artist, teacher and friend. Ruth grew up in Japan so much of her art is influenced by her exposure to Japanese culture and traditions. Ruth is never bound by tradition though as she takes a uniquely American stance and continually asks 'what if...'




commercial tee shirt gradation dyed with indigo and handmade skirt with shibori and indigo



Ruth is well known in local circles for her wonderful garments. Growing up tall in a place where most women are much shorter, Ruth learned at an early age to make her own clothes. Even finding patterns was difficult so she quickly learned to adapt them to her unique style and taste. Of course Ruth loves to embellish her clothing and almost always adds some personal touch to even her purchased clothing.

Shibori and indigo dyed art cloth



At Textile Evolution this coming August Ruth will be combining two traditional Japanese fabric techniques: Indigo and Shibori. You will have a chance to experiment with different fabrics and techniques to create incredible fabrics to use in your art, quilts or garments as well as create a couple of unique silk scarves. You can find out more about her class here

deep indigo and shibori dyed scarf



Ruth and I share a passion for hand stitching and embroidery...we love the texture and design element it adds to any project. In fact Ruth is working on her next book which explores her 'what if...' approach to hand stitching. Don't be thinking staid old embroidery book though! Ruth loves nothing more than shaking things up with deconstructing, distorting and otherwise abusing stitch patterns. Her Stitch Play class gives an exciting peek into what this book will encompass. Ruth is working on a new take on the stitch sampler in a small book format...it is really cool! Stay tuned for photos on that soon. But in the mean time you can get a hint of what I am talking about in these photos. You can click on them to see more detail.

amazing things you can do with a simple cross stitch



Ruth has been making a ton of bags and totes lately...you will see her awesome computer bag in the Fall issue of Quilting Arts Gifts! I am happy to have two of her originals as my new purse as well as a computer bag for my notebook! If you will be at the Long Beach Quilts Inc show be sure to get to our Cloth Paper Scissors~Make It University class called: Where did you get that bag? The prototypes below will see a few adjustments as we re-size it to fit your tablet or book readers!

Ruth and I are your co-hosts for the Fabric Embellishing: Basics and Beyond free book study which can be found on the forum. Read more about Ruth's fiber art adventures on her new blog.
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Fall Quilt Market

Fall quilt market was great. The atmosphere was upbeat and some of the stressful faces from previous markets were replaced with cheerful smiles. Business in the quilt world is thriving.  I didn't have as much time to talk to fabric designers and see the whole quilt show but I do have some photos to share.

M&S Textile from Australia



I didn't take a lot of photos during the Schoolhouse sessions...just plain forgot! But I did get this photo during the M&S Textile session. Their Aboriginal fabrics are wonderful and wow do they create an intricate quilt. This quilt is actually a very simple pattern...the fabric does all the work. That is my kind of quilt!  Artistic Artifacts carries an extensive line of these fabrics...I want them all!!

1/2 of sample spree



Sample spree is a shopping experience not to be missed. Store owners, teachers and designers have a chance to pick up some of the hottest new products and fabrics so they can get their samples and classes prepared before the products are shipped. It is a bit of a mad house as everyone rushes to their favorite vendor table...quantities are usually limited. This photo shows just half the ballroom where it is held.

Ruth Chandler and I in Landauer booth



Ruth Chandler and I had demos for Fabric Embellishing: The Basics and Beyond every day and I had demos for Threads: The Basics and Beyond as well. We love talking about the books and getting store owners and teachers excited about giving classes based on them. Our demo table is always a pile of samples! Other quilt authors bring nice neat stacks of quilts and we bring all this little stuff! LOL! It is sort of a treasure hunt as we try to show cool techniques amid the jumble of book samples. No one seems to mind though. We were very excited to learn that Fabric Embellishing will be translated into French! Hope I can get a copy.

I had two big book signings at distributor's booths. Unfortunately, my co-author Debbie Bates couldn't attend. These signings are a lot of fun and I get to talk about thread! They had to listen very intently in the E.E. Schenck booth because I was losing my voice.

Book signing at E.E. Schenck



Threads signing in the Checker booth



I also taught a Take and Teach class designed for shop owners to give them ideas for teaching from Threads: The Basics and Beyond. We made this cute little quiltlet with a flower power theme. The students had a great time and almost everyone finished their mini quilt. Those classes are hard on the store owners because we start at 8am! Then they hit the show floor at 9:30...it is pedal to the metal stitching! Fortunately I had my dear friends Ruth Chandler and Deb Prewitt manning the heat guns so we could get their thread lace flowers dry enough to stitch on to the quilt. Friends who will get up at 5:30am to help are priceless.

Take and Teach students hard at work.



Susie's finished Flower Power quiltlet.



Tomorrow I will post some photos from the market floor and then more from Quilt Festival...stay tuned because you know I brought home some goodies for a giveaway!
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Renegade Dyer

I am not much of a dyer. I don’t measure or take notes, nothing I dye is ever reproducible. I do follow all safety rules but that is where order stops and chaos begins. I do have a lot of fun and try to remember my color mixing theory so I don’t end up with mud…but even when I forget I end up with some nice surprises.


Sunday was a perfect day for dyeing. No afternoon rain or much wind so I set my production table up outside in the shade and started flinging dye. I started using a brush to apply the dye but ended up mostly just pouring the dye on the fabrics…couldn’t find any basters. I only had a few pieces of wool, silk yarn, white silk organza and white silk chiffon so I raided my studio for anything silk. I found a bunch of silk dupioni remnants that a friend had given me and two silk blouses that were perfect for experimenting with. I have to say I didn’t even prewash the silk dupioni and since it was drapery fabric I didn’t think it would take the dye well but I threw it in the mix as any true dye renegade would and I am just delighted with the results!

Dyed silk Dupioni


The two shirts dyed up fabulously also...love free material! One was a sage green sueded silk and the other was a peach shirt. Don’t you love the pockets!




Formerly peach blouse





Formerly sage green blouse



The chiffon turned out fabulous! Unfortunately, it is really hard to photograph well…the patterning is subtle on some and not so subtle on others.

Dyed Silk Chiffon



I love silk organza. I pressed most of this but left a little chunk un-pressed to remind me how cool it is all crinkled up. I used some un-pressed organza in one of the silk rod samples in Fabric Embellishing: the Basics and Beyond. It has such great texture and color play. These also didn’t photograph well but you can believe me they are awesome and actually just what I was aiming for color wise.

dyed silk organza



The wool took a lot of dye because it was already felted but it was the last thing I did so I just poured it on heavy.




hand dyed felted wool



I ended up with an incredible batch of clean-up paper towels too! I’ll show you what I did with some of those tomorrow as well as the silk yarn which has taken longer to dry.
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