Wednesday, June 13, 2018

English Paper Piecing Class

In March I taught an English Paper Piecing (EPP) class.  This was in anticipation of a class we had scheduled for Diane Miller, who was teaching a class that used EPP.  We had a class of 15, which is a very nice size of group.  

I learned most of my English Paper Piecing either from reading things on my own,or from SisterStitches, who teaches EPP at her quilt shop in Minnesota.  It seems like she's always working on an EPP project.  


One of the table groups for the class.



To prepare for the class I did some EPP and took lots of photos of the process.  Then I chose photos, made them black and white, and put them into a many-paged handout for the students.  Above is one of the photos.




I put together the above hexagons and put them onto this green background before making it into a pot holder.  Strange, but I can't find a photo of the finished pot holder!  This was the project everyone worked on.  


* * * * *

The photo below shows some more complicated EPP that I did for a class I took five years ago.  You can see the post here.  In this class (which I took via snail mail) we used smaller shapes to build larger hexagons.  



Here is a close-up of some of these hexagons.  One can tell from the above photo that this is an unfinished project.  I still need to make a few more "engineered" hexagons, then make "fill-in" pieces for the sides.





We had a good time during our class.  I showed them how to baste the fabric to the paper shapes with needle and thread, and also how to do it using fabric glue.  Different methods appeal to different people.

Here I am demonstrating the stitching to a student.
The students really enjoyed learning this method, and everyone was very successful.  People were especially happy about how portable this sewing method is.  So it can be easily taken when traveling or when going to a weekly quilting get-together.

Since then, we have formed an EPP interest group which will meet monthly.  That way we can share what we are doing, exchange ideas, and learn from each other.

I'll share some photos of their wonderful work in another post.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Pet Beds

In the name of cleaning up in my studio a little bit I sewed some pet beds recently.  That at least got rid of two pairs of jeans lying around in my studio and a few bags of fabric scraps.



 Two of them were made from some wild pink knit fabric.  I recognize it as coming from my The Loft, my LQS (local quilt store).

I got three beds made today.  The plaid one is from MisterStitches old jeans.  They were the warm kind, lined with flannel.  I thought that might make a comfy pet bed.  The bed isn't square because, as you know, pant legs are usually tapered.  But I don't think that will bother the pets!




 The pink fabric was given to me last week by someone who said it is for my pet beds.  I wasn't sure if it was to be the outsides of the beds, or just get put inside, but I chose to make some beds out of it.  There is still over a yard left, and all my fabric scraps are gone now.  I might save some of this pink fabric to make some leggings for GranddaughterStitches when she comes this summer.  In fact, I think I may have made her some leggings out of this very fabric a few years ago.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Progress on "Sashiko Scarf"

I'm making progress on my sashiko scarf, which I started here.



Using random meandering stitches is a lot of fun!  I can literally just make it up as I go.  I usually pay attention to the dye patterns on the silk, making circles around them.




The tiny red threads are for basting purposes only, and will be removed when I'm finished.







Here's what it looks like on the back.  I think I like it!




Friday, May 18, 2018

A Perfect Ten!

Quite a milestone!  GranddaughterStitches has turned ten years old!  So here, of course, is a shirt to commemorate the accomplishment.  




I found a very pretty batik fabric for the two numerals.  As usual, fused on and then blanket stitched on the machine.




Quite the model's pose, don't you think?!?


I told GranddaughterStitches that I could remember my DadStitches making a big deal out of my being a "two-number girl." 





And here is a tag I added onto the back of the shirt.  I have learned throughout the years that these tags are often scratchy and uncomfortable, and therefore tend to get removed from the garment.  So this time I added the label onto the outside of the shirt.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Progress On My Curves and Strips Quilt



I am making some progress on my quilt from Louisa Smith's class at Asilomar.  Yes, I know there is a big hole right in the middle!  

That block is down below in this picture.  It is placed on my cutting mat and I'm in the process of figuring out to make the cuts I need to make.  I must have left the "scene" very quickly, for this block to not have been finished!





The squares are really looking much nicer now that they are getting sewn together, rather than being held on the design wall by pins.  





I now have 13 of the 20 squares completed.  They really are not that hard to piece together.


If you know how to piece curves, then there's no problem.  But there are those mathematical, geometrical shapes to be fitted together.  If I'm having trouble figuring out where to make a cut, I just keep trying different cutting templates until I find the one where the seam lines will line up correctly.



And yes, I know that once I get all of these blocks sewn, then I will have to make them line up with each other perfectly so that they will all fit.  Sewing curves is not a problem for me, but making the squares all square might just be a little harder!

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Applique Handwork for a Road Trip (Part 2)

There was a slight change of plans for our road trip.  At the last minute I went by plane, rather than by car.  I was actually quite bummed that I would not get all that nice time to do hand sewing.  So I ended up taking just one project with me, as well as some crocheting.  

First of all, I went to my LQS (Local Quilt Shop) to buy some Perle Cotton in ecru to do my stitching.  They come in those cute little balls, all wound so precisely.  Well, that was until my kitties found it!  It happened just a few minutes after I got home.  So I took this photo and emailed it to Marva, my LQS owner, because I thought it was so funny!  She ended up putting it on Facebook, which I found amusing.  



 Those cats had gotten an awful lot of thread removed from the ball!  So the next thing was to re-wind the thread onto the ball. 




No, it's' definitely not the neat little ball that it originally was!


So here's the project.  I had a piece of tan-colored silk, kind of a very light cafe au lait color.  It's quite a few years old.  I acquired it by going to a class that was teaching us how to use traditional Japanese shibori dyeing. That's when natural plants are used to naturally dye fabric.  And the dye patterns are determined by how the fabric gets folded, pleated, or otherwise manipulated.  It's been so long since the class that I can't remember exactly what I did with my fabric. But it has some little random circles on it.  Some of the circles are square-ish shaped.




I paired it with this tan/red floral fabric for the backing.  I sewed the fabrics right sides together, but left the ends open.  My idea is to do some sashiko-type stitching in a random, free-form all-over design to hold the two fabrics together to be a scarf.




Here is some of the stitching.  It's quite fun to just go wherever I feel like with my stitches!  This photo shows the end of the scarf where I started the sewing.  You can see some of the pink basting threads in the photo.  I needed to keep the two fabrics stabilized, so they wouldn't shift around on me as I was handling it and stitching it.



And here's how it looks on the back.






I'm starting and stopping each thread by pulling the small knot through to the wrong side of the backing fabric, so they are all buried between the fabrics.



Monday, April 23, 2018

Applique Handwork For a Road Trip (Part 1)

For our road trip to southern California, I prepared a few pieces of hand sewing that I could work on in the car.  As long as it's a straight highway, like Highway 5, I can sew in the car.

I found this image on Pinterest.  I really liked the design of the blocks, and thought this would be a fun way to use up some purple-ish fabric that I have.  




There was no pattern or diagram, so I had to make my own.  This is my first attempt at drawing the design.  I decided on 12 1/2" blocks, and below is the left-hand side of the block.  It took a little experimenting to get the right size for the petals and leaf.







Here I refined the drawing  so that I could make templates.  




I made templates from double layers of freezer paper.  I made a cutting template and a separate actual-size template.

Below is where I am using spray starch and a make-up sponge brush to press down the edges of the leaves.  I didn't have a proper brush when I started, so I was using a Q-tip for an applicator.  Of course, that became fuzzy after a bit and was unusable.  But they're cheap, and they do have two tips on one handle!  Then I decided to try a makeup-applicator.  It seemed to work well, but then it, too broke down after not too long.  I guess it's not intended for this purpose!





Spray starch in the can's lid.


Here are several finished pressed petals.  They look a little like small canoes, don't you think?!?




Or maybe pea pods!?!




Here is my test square.  I have lots of this purple batik fabric:  different "dye patterns" but the same colors.  I sewed the purple to a few different yellow fabrics that I had in my stash to make the background for the flowers.  

I glued down the stem and petals for the appliqué  and that worked fairly well.  But there was a definite presence of glue!  Maybe I was a little heavy-handed.




This close-up shows the purple fabric showing through the paler yellow fabric of the flower petals.  I took care of that by using a scissors to trim out the back purple fabric.  That went pretty well, until I snipped a hole in one of the yellow petals!  AAARRRGGGGGHHHHHH!  I think excess glue on the petals made it too hard to separate the petal fabric from the purple background fabric, which aided in my snipping the petal fabric.

I can fix this by removing that damaged petal and sewing on a replacement.  So the whole block is not wasted.





 Now I have about 16 blocks all ready to take with me in the car.  I have used pins instead of glue.  On this test block, I hadn't yet added the green leaf to the stem, or the light green circle to the center of the flower.