I have 2 friends locally that are new Innova quilters. One purchased a machine and one rents time at Virginia Longarm. Both have taken classes of mine and have asked for additional help or private lessons. I don't give private lessons but I have come up with an ingenious way to help them while mostly helping myself.
It involves veteran's quilts!
Last week Tina came over to practice some ruler stitch-in-the-ditch and today Marcy is coming over to practice free-motion. I load and baste the quilts and then they quilt them for me. They get a little lesson and practice time and I get some veterans quilts done. Since I have 16 waiting to be quilted this is a huge help for me right now.
I've got these 2 quilts loaded and the thread picked out. Marcy will be ready to get started as soon as she arrives. There will be no dilly-dallying. Well, maybe a little dilly-dally will be OK....and then we must get to work.
If I work on my wall while she is quilting I can be close by but not looking over her shoulder.
Or I can be a few feet away loading more bottles on the kiln. Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to try to get a lot of my stockpile of bottles slumped in case any of you want bottles for Christmas (or other) gifts.
Looks like this poor bottle moved as it heated. I had it perfectly centered on the mold but it rolled a little left and now it's a reject. Maybe I'll donate it to the Country School trash-to-treasure sale next week.
After all of the excitement and fun today we will get to end the day buying a new HVAC system. Oh joy!
I don't have a lot to share today because I have been singularly focused on getting the "Paula" quilts done. Of course it would have taken less time if I had only made the ONE that was asked of me. But you know how inspiration works and you just have to go with it. So I made 2 and I'm happy I did. I love both of them.
This weekend I got the bindings and sleeves done and started on the labels.
I know, there's no real need to hand draw labels but I started the tradition and I'm keeping with it.
Beware of Lust s the name of one of the quilts. It's not because I'm a prude. It's a play on the name of the fabric line, Wonderlust, and the particular layout of that quilt. It will make sense when I can show it to you at the end of October.
I expect I'll miss another couple of days posting this week while I finish these up but you will know what I'm doing. I want these quilts in the mail by Friday.
Yesterday was dyeing day and I dyed over 60 yards. That's a big week for my little business!
Yesterday was also the day that I finished quilting the "Paula" quilts and I officially now have a new favorite quilting thread. I'm blocking them today and binding this weekend.
I have previously used a lot of Monopoly invisible thread but I've never been happy with the sheen that you get from it. It's invisible in color but still shows because of the shine.
Val, at Virginia Longarm, recommended that I try Invisafil.
I first tried in on this class sample. I used gray Invisafil for the background quilting (clamshells, wavy lines, pumpkin seeds and bubble lines). I was really impressed with the way this thread disappears into the quilt. Last night I used it on the lone star sample that I made. I used the gray again and quilted through the black, red and orange. I just love it! Setting the tension was much easier than invisible thread and I had no thread breaks.
The best part is that you don't need all of the colors. I expect that black, gray and white will be all I ever need.
The only caution is that you have to be very careful winding bobbins. It's a super fine thread that packs in the bobbin and I found out that if I fill it more than 3/4 full that it will warp the bobbin.
They keep showing up with bags of empty wine bottles. They were piled on a bench in the hall and yesterday was the day I finally got tired of looking at them. In between laundry and baking bread (the easy gluten-free kind) I finally got the labels removed from these. I have another bin this full in the basement.
It's time to get the kiln fired up and it's time for my friends to put their bottles in the recycle bin.
In other news, I now have both of my Payla Nadelstern tops done and I'll get them loaded and start quilting Thursday. Tomorrow is "dyeing day"!
I shared last week almost all of Mom's trials and tribulations with her cataract surgery. We thought it was over that day but, no! She had yet another reaction to yet another medicine. But she's finally on the mend.
While Mom was with me I was pretty good about letting her rest and relax for a couple of days after each surgery but then I started assigning tasks. She weeded a little, packaged some fabric for me for the shop, made the dog beds and then I found this project that kept her busy for a few days.
I got her to clear out my whole scrap bin. I pulled out several Go dies and she took every fabric and cut whatever she could get out of every fabric in the bin.
Every single fabric!
It was in the middle of one of these sessions that she got the migraine from the last medicine. I knew she was feeling better then next day when I found her cutting again.
We don't have any plans for them at the moment so really she just moved them from one bin to another. I expect that I will make some scrappy veterans quilts in future Friday/Saturday sewing days at Country School.
I made her promise not to do anything else to her eyes for at least 2 months. Just to add it's not a doctor issue. We love her doctor. The day she got the migraine he called 3 times, offered to see her any time over the weekend and called again the next day. It's nothing he did, she just reacts to everything. I'm thinking I should switch to him. With family history I fully expect to have glaucoma at some point. It would be nice to have a doctor that would already understand my weirdness.
We are both expecting an uneventful and pain free weekend this weekend!
That's a conversation that Mom and I had this past weekend specifically related to hand made items. Why are we suddenly talking about this?
It's because of this.
This is what's left of a pillow cover that my Grandmother, Lura Dove, embroidered around 1930. When Grandma had to go (unwillingly) into assisted living Mom took the pillow cover and framed it for her room. After Grandma died my Aunt had it for a while and then gave it to me. It's been hanging in my sewing room until a week ago.
When it fell off the wall and the frame shattered. Usually in this case I run right off to my favorite frame shop and spend a small fortune to have it re-framed.
When Mom framed this she wasn't loaded with a ton of extra cash and she was dealing with the stress of convincing her Mother that assisted living really was the right answer for someone prone to falling. So she did what most of us did 25 years ago, she used one of those mats with the stick edge. I started peeling the back edge of the piece (the front is not stuck) and realized that this fabric is incredibly fragile. It also has some pretty strong age staining.
So, what to do? For me the answer was to call Mom for a consultation.
Chris and I re-drafted our wills last year so I've been think a lot about what we leave behind. The result of my pondering is that we are leaving a pretty heavy burden of stuff on the next generation. That's especially true in my case where 2 kid will get stuff from their parents, from me and from Mom. Frankly, that's a lot of crap. Written into our special bequest lists of our wills is a comment that I added to tell the recipients of my stuff that they are under no obligation to take anything or to feel they must take special care of anything. They can refuse it, sell it, give it to someone else or keep it. It doesn't matter to me. I will not be there to pass judgement.
So Mom and I discussed it and agreed that this piece has served it's purpose in life. It made Grandma Dove happy to make it and enjoy it during her long life. I enjoyed seeing it while it was hanging on the wall but it's OK to let it go and that's what I'm going to do.
Not to worry, I still have some treasures from Grandma Dove like this dresser scarf.
This is my favorite piece. I had 2 of these bed covers. I know I gave the other one to someone in the family but don't remember. I kept this one and think I may quilt it some day.
In the first house that Chris and I owned I used this on top of the guest bed bedspread and my Grandma got to see it there once.
Oh my gosh, my next sentence was supposed to be "So I'm OK letting the pillow cover go." but just as I was typing I realized exactly what I will do with it. I'll be back in a week or so to show you.
Sometimes I really annoy myself. I just could not let them go. I had to do one more thing with the tiny scraps. I've made confetti fabric before and usually use it in postcards in some way.
the process starts with a base fabric. This time it was a fat quarter of white fabric but the fabric doesn't matter because I'm going to cover all of it. On the base fabric I fused a layer of Mistyfuse and then spread out my biggest scraps. I covered the fabric with a pressing sheet and fused that layer.
The next layers are:
I think I might use this "new fabric" for Christmas postcards so I added a layer of Angelina fibers, then another layer of Mistyfuse and, finally, I covered the whole thing in tulle.
Here's what it looks like now. Once I decide what to do with it I'll probably do some stitching to hold the layers together.
I've made several postcards with scrap-made fabric. This is one of the most recent ones. I just need to come up with a shape and I'll be ready to make a set of Christmas cards.
I promise you will not see another post about the rainbow scrap bits. The rest will end their days in a dog bed.
You have to admit, it's going to be really pretty in that dog bed.
I am so fortunately to live near one of the best museums in the country and I don't have to go to a big city to visit it. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts doesn't often rank in a top 25 list of best museums but it won't be long before it actually gets the recognition that I believe it deserves. It is often cited as the only museum on the East Coast to get a particular exhibit and that is the case for the current Yves Saint Laurent exhibit.
The VMFA does costume exhibits pretty regularly and I was excited to see this one. If you are interested in fashion in any way and you can get to Richmond VA this summer, this particular one is not to be missed.
One thing I loved about this exhibit is the amount of information presented on the designer, himself. This exhibit shows the value of nurturing talent early. YSL started his career at a young age making paper doll fashions from magazines and his own drawings. He was in his teens when he did these and his natural talent is clear.
This is part of a book illustration that he also did at a young age.
Another very cool part of the exhibit are these design boards. (I'm sure they call them something else). There are several of these for every collection showing a drawing of the garment, fabric swatches, notes and the garment number for the show.
They had 2 from every year that he presented collections. It was fun to walk them in chronological order to see how the color palettes and silhouettes changed. I also spent a lot of time looking at particular garments and then coming back to the boards to see how that garment fit into the collection for that year.
There is a section on how the garments come together including information on how prints are designed, selected and used.
Samples of lino blocks for printing fabrics.
Collections of hat forms that are art on their own.
A cool display on embroidery and showing how they used the toile and paper to show how a garment will be embellished.
And lots of very large jewelry!
There are 102 garments in the exhibit and I particularly loved this section with garments presented in color themes.
Each color section has a back display of swatch pages presented in a gradient.
He designed a number of dresses as homages to different artists or art movements. I think that Mondrian dress has to be one of his most famous.
The first time I looked at this one I didn't even catch that it was a body silhouette. I just thought the lines were cool.
If I could have 1 garment from the collection it would be this coat.
I wonder what Chris would say if I made us matching outfits in purple crushed velvet?
The day after we got back from New Mexico my friend, Laura, arrived here from England via NYC with her daughter. Laura is going to hang out with me for a few weeks before heading back home. We love spending time together because she loves to sew while she's here. We both put on our audiobooks and move on to do whatever we want. We do stop periodically to chat and eat. Here's some of what we've been doing.
While she was in NYC, Laura bought this really pretty water bottle. Coincidentally it also holds a whole bottle of wine and keeps things cool for 24 hours. The bottle is beautiful and she wanted to make a cover for it. The print reminded us of Shibori so that's where we searched for the fabric.
Doesn't that complement the bottle really well? It's padded to provide more protection.She used this Instructables tutorial.
She cleverly modified it to add a locking strap.
The she made a short strap.
And a long strap. She's good to take this bottle anywhere.
Meanwhile the most exciting thing in my studio this week is the arrival of this cart. You know I bought a wet saw (for glasswork) a few weeks ago. It's just a little too heavy and awkward for me to move it in and out on my own. I decided that I needed a car that I could wheel in and out. But I also needed a way to easily wash it down and trap all of the ground glass so that I don't end op with piles of ground glass in the grass. I remember how the drain in the glass studio at VisArts was set up so I decided to do something similar.
I started by drilling 1 1/4" hole in both shelves of the cart.
Then I had a large bin and a bucket and drilled holes in them.
This is how it works. As water pours from the top shelf (where the saw will sit) it will drain into the bucket. Most of the glass bits fall to the bottom of the bucket. As the water level rises it seeps from the holes near the top and that water runs into the big bin. Any glass bits that run out of the bucket will settle in the bin so that the water running out of the bin is safe to let flow into the bottom shelf and out the hole (drain) in that shelf. When I'm done I can let the bucket and bin settle more and the pour water off the top and let the bottom evaporate outside and dispose of the sludge/glass dust safely later.
I know this doesn't look like much but I'm really excited about it. I can bow easily roll my saw inside and out.
I've been thinking about doing this post for a while but it became relevant when I was working on the sailboat postcard. I needed thread for the edging and wound up checking all of my thread stashes to find the perfect matches.
I'm pretty sure that I have more thread than fabric and I'm A-OK with that. I hate starting to quilt a quilt and not having just the right thread to go with it. Thread is like crayons. If you can afford it are you going to buy the Ultimate Crayons or the 8-pack? You are buying the 152 ultimate pack that includes glitter and metallic crayons.
Well, let's start with the fancy metallics, glitter and other special threads. These are in a cabinet right next to my Brother sewing machine (where I make postcards). Like many of my threads, several are in the original wrappers but they were there when I need them! But there's nothing there for my postcards.
Next stop is these 2 drawers of mostly acrylic threads. These are under the Brother table and I use these a lot on postcards but it runs fine on the longarm too. Many, many years ago there was a website called Lunn Fabrics that sold hand dyed fabrics. Debra and Michael now design batiks for one of the fabric lines. They also sold this thread and when they went out of business they sold off the remaining inventory at deeply discounted prices. I bought over 50 cones but, seriously, this was so inexpensive that I'm sure I've gotten my value out if it now. The colors are beautiful and the sheen is wonderful. But none of them matched my postcards. Down to the basement.....
Nothing in the Masterpiece collection matched. I primarily use this as bobbin and piecing thread.
I used a variegated poly threads on the front of the cards but didn't want a varigated effect on the edges so no Rainbows or King Tut. These days I use these threads primarily on charity quilts where I do an all over pattern. I'm using up a lot of King Tut on the veterans quilts.
The threads I use most often for quilting are these polyester (not shiny) neutrals and I'm glad I have lots not choose from....but not for these cards.
I expected to fin the matches here in either the So Fine or Bottom Line collections but no!
How about the solid polyesters? I love these threads and use them a lot. But no matches here either and I'm running out of options.
Back upstairs I have another cart of thread next to the Juki. The top drawer has my piecing threads. The second drawer has some heavier cottons that are used almost exclusively on postcards but this wasn't what I was going for.
Years ago when I was primarily sewing garments some online store had an amazing price for Mettler thread and I bought every possible color. This supply has come in handy so many times and I consider it one of my best purchases ever.
That was doubly true when I made these postcards. Look at those perfect matches!
I love my thread collection and wouldn't trade it for anything. I think I'd give away all of my fabric before I gave away the thread. It's my ultimate crayon box just bigger and spread all over the house. At least they don't stain carpets when they are accidentally smushed.
I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.
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