Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Seam Embellishment Week #4

Hello everyone! It's that time of the week again -- time to showcase another seam embellishment. This week's seam comes from Faith. (Everytime I see her name I think of George Michael's singing "I gotta have Faith" and then this morning on the drive into work, I actually HEARD that song on the radio and had to laugh). Okay, back to the subject.

Faith has done a neat seam embellishment that I think of as "faux buttonhole wheels" and she used metallic floss. This is not using the buttonhole stitch, but rather the stem stitch for the outline and then just straight stitches for the spokes. Just draw yourself a nice wavy sort of line, do your stem stitch (or outline stitch), and then put in your spokes with straight stitches. It's probably a good thing to keep the "waves" a little on the smallish side so that your spokes aren't too long. If your stitches there get too long, they get all "floppy" and messy looking.

Another great feature of this block from Faith (sorry, she has no blog yet, but she should don't ya think?), is look at the little birdhouse underneath with all the flowers. This was just a regular printed fabric but Faith enhanced the look with some simple stitches and tons and tons of flowers, all done with regular floss. This is one of my favorite blocks I have received just because of this little patch alone.

Be sure and look closely at your fabrics next time you make a block and pick one out that you can enhance like this. The theme of this block swap was Birdhouses -- each block had to have a birdhouse on it somewhere in some sort of medium (bead, charm, stitching, etc.). With just a few simple stitches, Faith really showcased the birdhouse on this block.

I don't know if you all read the comments that are left but Malla has been following along with the seam embellishment of the week. Go and visit her blog and look at her feather stitch (among other things). Lots of pretty blocks to look at.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tagged and Pictures

My friend Wilma gave me the You Make My Day Award. Thanks Wilma. Wilma makes such pretty quilts, both sane and crazy quilt. Go take a look at her WIP or UFO that she found and encourage her to finish it up (like I did). I'm supposed to give the award to 10 other people -- hmm. Don't know if I'll make 10, but here are a couple of my favorite blogs.

My fellow List Owner - JK

I like this blog - KC Quilter

And another favorite is: Annie's -- she has lots of neat pictures and all kinds of projects going on.

That's enough to get you all started blog-hopping. I have SO many blogs to read -- I just keep adding more and more to my list. So many blogs, so many cool projects and pictures, so little time (LOL).

Speaking of time (ha!), here's my latest on my slow cloth work, The Dark Tower. I've added a second layer of some type of gauzy, glitzy fabric (I'm sorry, but I can't remember if its chiffon or organza as I was looking at both of them) to the sunset. There will be still more layers and then stitching on top of everything.

Last weekend I went antiquing with my friend and found several cheap pearl necklaces to deconstruct. I just love the color the pearls on old pearl necklaces get -- not that stark white but a nice mellow color. Here's my little helper. First it was sitting on the table helping me embroider. Now she's going to help me deconstruct the necklace.

And since Blogger is being so nice and letting me do pics, let's just do 'em all (LOL). A few weeks ago, Crazy Judyth and I were talking about Laurel Birch fabric. Judyth and I are both chicken lovers and we were lamenting that Laurel never did chickens. So I decided to have a try at it. Here's my attempt at doing a chicken a la Laurel Birch. The chicken has gone to live on the farm with Crazy Judyth.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Seam Embellishment of the Week #3

Hello everyone -- it's time for our next Seam Embellishment. This week the feather stitch is featured. Nobody does the feather stitch better then my friend, and fellow List Owner, JK. As you can see, the feather stitch does not have to be a straight line seam embellishment, it can gently curve along and around your block and is good for filling in a larger piece.

A lot of people are a little intimidated by the feather stitch, when it's really a rather easy stitch. I remember seeing Betty Pillsbury on Simply Quilts saying the feather stitch was just: shoulder, shoulder, belly button. Meaning you start the stitch at one upper edge (shoulder), go back down at the other upper edge (shoulder), and then take the stitch in the middle (belly button).

I also found this site to help you guys out: it's video clips of all kinds of stitches. I know a lot of people are more visual learners, so check this out. It's a great resource. I'm still hunting for a site that shows left handed stitching. I'm a lefty and I definitely learn better by seeing someone do it, or a diagram that's done for lefties. I don't want to have to put the book in front of the mirror or stand on my head or any of the other things they expect us lefthanders to do. So if any of you know of a good site for lefties, PLEASE let me know!

Here's JK's feather stitch beaded -- this is my favorite one. This version of the feather stitch is more of a straight line, following the seam itself. She's used bugle beads here, but you could also use the little seed beads on the ends. Another variation would be to use a lazy daisy stitch on the end of each "feather" and add some little straight stitches next to the lazy daisy for a flower effect.
Give the feather stitch a try and see how many ways you can dress it up. And please, if you've used some of the stitches, leave me comments with your blog address (since a lot of you come through as "no reply" and I can't find you). We all love to look at how others have done stitches.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Yeah, I'm playing with a feather

I hate the month of January. It goes on too long, and it's too cold, and there's too much snow, and ice, and freezing rain, and did I mention the cold? And there's no sun. Just long, endless days of dreary cold. Bone numbing cold. Do you get that I hate January? My temper is as short as the month is long. It's only the 21st -- lots more month to go. I can feel myself getting real close to biting someone's head off. Anyone. Doesn't matter who.

Even Madeline looks a little teed off playing with her favorite toy doesn't she? She got this as a Christmas present. When I get tired of playing and put the toy in the kitchen drawer, she has figured out how to open the drawer and will get the toy and bring it back to me. I say if she has this much intelligence and dexterity, it's time she goes out and gets a job to help with the gas bill. Another reason to hate January. Maybe someone should tell Mr. Bush that we could stimulate the economy if he and his cronies would turn their money grubbing Texas billionaire hands off the strangle they have on the oil wells to keep the price up so they can have their billions. (See, I warned you that January makes me mean).

Thank you for your lovely comments on the last post showing my applique blocks. Charlene wanted to know how long it takes to do a block . The actual sewing time, not that long, maybe a few hours. It's the prep work that takes forever. Drawing the patterns onto the freezer paper, remembering to reverse them, ironing the freezer paper on fabric (after I've spent time picking out the fabric), cutting the pieces out, clipping all the curves, gluing the turn back, arranging the pieces, well, you get the idea.

Sewcrazy (sorry, you were no reply and no link for your blog) asked about the birds beaks. She's doing needleturn, which I wish I could do but can't. I'm using the freezer paper method, so it's easy to get the beaks nice and sharp, but I'll tell you my method in case it will help you: Picture a triangle: I fold one side down, then I take the middle (or the sharp point) and fold that down, then I told the last side over the middle point and the first side, and work it to make the nice point. That's probably clear as mud to you sewcrazy, but it's the best explanation I've got.

Tomorrow is Tuesday and Seam Embellishment day. We're scheduled to get an ice storm going on all night. If I can't get into work, the seam embellishment will be postponed.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Birds of a Feather

Here's a couple of pics to share with you of my Birds of a Feather quilt I'm doing for me, me, me. The whole completed Block 1 -- and it's a BIG block -- is the second picture. Along with Block 2, which is the top picture. This only makes sense to Blogger (LOL). All of this is hand applique. I took a look at Block 3 and laughed! Miles and miles of the bias stems. I'm a little tired of bias stems, so I'm skipping ahead to a block that doesn't have any.
Glad to hear you're all enjoying the Seam Embellishments. I have received so many beautiful blocks from people and it's fun to let them all be in the spotlight for a while.
Extremely cold here for the next several days -- single digit temps and we won't even discuss the wind chill. Brrrr. Hope it's warm where you are, and if it is, think of me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Seam Embellishment Week #2

Hello everyone. It's time for another seam embellishment. This time, I'm going to give you two of them. One is based, once again, on the chain stitch. This was done by Betty (Betts), a member of CQForNewbies. I haven't heard from Betts in a while and don't think she has a blog. Here's her seam embellishment.

This is three chain stitches, left, right and center. At the top, she has added French knots. The easiest way to space this would be to do one side, then the other side and then the chain in the center. You could use beads in place of the French knots. You could also use bugle beads in the blank spaces next to the center chains, or even add straight stitches there. This is a nice, easy seam embellishment that covers a lot of ground and stands out nicely on a seam.

The second seam embellishment was done by Christy , another member of CQForNewbies.

This stitch is done using the stem stitch. As you can see, Christy used beautiful silk ribbon roses inbetween her swirls, but don't be scared! You don't have to do roses if you're not ready for them; buttons would be a nice alternative. If you'll look closely, you'll see 4 beads, a big white one and three small red ones. I really like the way she's clustered these beads together. Use your chalk or one of the disappearing pens (always checking your fabric first and never, never, ever iron over the disappearing pen until it has totally disappeared), and draw yourself a little swirley (or half of a figure 8). The secret to a nice stem stitch is to take little stitches, lots of little ones instead of big stitches. That way you can control the curve without your thread looping up and not curving right. I hope these two stitches help you this week.

I want to thank everyone who has left comments. I have tried to answer all of you, but some of you come through as "no reply." If you'll check the comments section on the last post, Malla left a great suggestion on something else to use as a template to draw scallops and circles. Thanks Malla! And one more little thing -- if you refer to this post on your blog or elsewhere, please make sure you refer to it as "Seam Embellishment" of the Week and not Stitch of the Week. Stitch of the Week sounds too much like Sharon B's Take a Stitch which she did last year and I certainly don't want to infringe or take away from all the great, hard work that Sharon did with that project. Thanks!!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Seam Embellishment of the Week

As some of you may know, I am one of the List Owners of CQForNewbies, a Yahoo group dedicated to helping newbies with crazy quilting. As a new feature on the list (and here), I'll be posting a weekly pic of different seam embellishments to help the newbies get some ideas and work on their swap blocks. I'm posting the pictures here because you can click on the pics and get an even bigger, up close view.
Today's seam is a rather simple one, involving only one stitch, the chain stitch. This seam was done by JK, my partner in crime (g). As you can see, she has used the chain stitch to make scallops along the seam line and then added chain stitches on the top curve of each scallop. Makes a nice seam embellishment don't ya think? She has used two colors to showcase the top chains. To get nice spaced scallops, I use a thread spool and put half of the spool edge on the seam line and draw around it with chalk. This gives you a nice half circle shape to follow and the chalk vanishes easily, even on the fancy fabrics.

But you don't have to stop with just the chain stitch. Some other variations would be to use bugle beads in place of the three chains on top. You could add buttons in the empty spaces of the scallops. And don't just stop with sewing on a plain button. While you're sewing your button on, add a few beads to the center and give it a little more bling. In crazy quilting, "too much is never enough." For those of you a little more advanced, you could do some silk ribbon embroidery and add a rose in the center of the scallops.

Hope this gives you some ideas to help you in embellishing your blocks.

If you need directions for doing the chain stitch, you can find some here.

Monday, January 07, 2008

New Year, New Projects

Hey everyone! After I made my last post here, I was struck down with a bunch of horrible germs that knocked me off my feet for the whole New Year's holiday. Nasty, nasty stuff! I'm so glad that's over with. I may have been down, but was determined not to waste my days off. I got the book Birds of a Feather (Barb Adams is one of the authors) right before New Year's Eve and decided that would be my first project of the year for me. I love the primitive look of this quilt. In fact, I like most primitive quilting. I guess I'm the multiple personality of the quilt world -- on one hand I like all the bling-bling over the top look of encrusted crazy quilts and then the simple beauty of primitive applique. (The block is NOT crooked in person -- it's just the angle I was standing at to get the picture).
I'm doing this all by hand using the freezer paper method which is tedious and time consuming, but the results look so good (compared to my pathetic attempts at needle turn applique). I've got the first two blocks done and the third one prepped. Most of the fabric is from my stash -- I only bought a couple of fat quarters of red and green to add a little variety. Here's the next block, prepped, but not sewn down yet. This will be a quilt for me! Wish me luck on keeping focused.