Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It's all about Heart and RED with Joan and her topic of Recycle and Reuse!

Red red red... Are you seeing red yet, and pink and white and anything that makes the heart flutter!!! That's what Valentines day is all about.

While I was working on my Christmas projects this year, I had a stroke of genius... or maybe just a stroke!! :-) But, I just couldn't get this crazy idea out of my head. Where are my manners? I am Joan, popping in for a visit from "MooseStash Quilting". I have long been a fanatic about saving scraps and threads and itty bitty things that would make anyone who is OCD crazy, I am sure. But there was this eureka moment, while working on my Christmas project last November. I had all these little corners that I cut off my blocks. You know, the ones left over, when you stitch on the line and then cut them 1/4" away when making, flying geese for example.

I immediately stop and stitch together the little leftovers to save for a new project. Sounds crazy I now!

After you press open your little piece, you get these dog ears.

And you know they have to go!!

Which leaves you this...
Now we are on to something!!

                                                           We need tulle, you know the stuff with little tiny holes in it. I put a piece of fabric under it, so you can see it. It's really hard to photograph.

We are also going to need some water soluble stabilizer. I like the woven kind personally. Now layer the tulle on top of the water soluble stabilizer and stitch around the edges. We need 2 of these one for the top and one for the bottom! :-)

Dog ears!! Yep we need dog ears. And you thought I was crazy!
With the water soluble side down sprinkle on your dog ears.

I like it, but that's all the dog ears I have, and I think it needs more... I happen to have some eye lash yarn the color I need. So I am going to cut up a bunch and just plop it where I want it!

Take your top piece with the water soluble side up and carefully pin the two together trying not to move the little dog ears or other filler around too much.

And now for the fun. We are going to take this little sandwich to our machine, drop those feed dogs and start quilting. Nothing fancy, just some loops and wiggles, something to keep things together. Once you have the entire piece somewhat stable, you can start quilting the bejeebers out of it.

Bejeeber: A very technical word that is about the same as "heck" or "mess" or "stuffing"... You know, whatever favorite word you like to use!! :-)

It's fun to change out the thread colors and scribble away. It really does need to be pretty densely quilted so when we dissolve the stabilizer, everything stays put. Here is my finished piece.

Then off to the sink, to dissolve the stabilizer.

What I am left with is this fabulous piece of fabric, just waiting to have an art quilt designed for it!

                                               Close up!


Remember those little pieces - the ones the dog ears came from?

They make up great pin wheel blocks. And just the right colors to match our art fabric!! Who knew!

So I gathered a recycled zipper and some polka dot ribbon and I start to play. A zip up shirt is what popped into my mind, and don't you know that every zip up shirt has to have a matching brooch. It is a rule, I'm sure!

So here you go. My Valentines version of an art quilt.

And from left overs from this Christmas Quilt...
Who'd a thunk!

       I hope to have inspired you, to start your very own OCD fabric art quilt. Cause there is nothing better than getting a Bonus "quiltie" from leftovers!!

stop on by the MooseStash for a visit

I have a jar full of thread and a bag of dog ears...
What's a girl to do??? You gotta help me!!!


            Have a fabulous Valentines day!!

  And don't forget to show us your " OCD Art" quilt!

A big thanks to Madame Samm! It's always a pleasure for me to be able to share with so many talented people. You "all" keep me inspired, each and every day!


Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's all about Heart and with Helen you get it and more...I heart iron on transfers….

this month Madame Samm tells me is Hand and Hearts month – well I know I’ve twisted that theme a little but wanted to show you how much I looooove iron on transfers…
All of my Hugs ‘n Kisses stitchery and embroidery patterns include wonderful, easy to use iron on transfers…this saves you having to trace my little detailed designs onto fabric using a lightbox or window – yes, you can get straight into the fun part- the stitching! and because all of those little drawn lines and details in the design transfer exactly onto your fabric your stitching – if you just follow the lines, will also look perfect! no wobbles, missed bits or mistakes…
chatelainescissor colourquetree ilovestitchingcoverpic
another plus of iron on transfers is that you can choose whatever fabric you like to put them on – you are not restricted to fabric that I used to screen print on in my pattern packs.. and yet another plus is that my iron on transfers (and I gather most others) can be used more than once!! so you can make the same thing many times if you really love it…
they are only good if you follow the instructions and transfer them well, which is why I have twisted the theme today just a tad to give you a quick tutorial on using them…
Firstly, the transfer will look just like a drawing or design printed on standard copy paper. The lines will look black on the paper and will be very fine (because I computer trace them and make them as fine as I can so a single thread can cover them). When they are transferred the colour is actually called a quilters blue – a greyish blue colour which blends well under many coloured threads.
My transfers will always have a label on them which will say something like ‘I heart you iron on transfer’ as opposed to ‘I heart you design sheet’…..P1090560
and there should also be a little ‘transfer test’ patch on there somewhere.
Another clue is that the design will be reversed – so if there is any text, it will be back to front….P1090561
always make sure you have the right sheet – that is the transfer and not the design sheet (I always include both – so when your transfer does run out you can still trace more if you really want to make more).
Now, all of the ink on the transfer page is transfer ink. So if there is anything on there that you don't want on your fabric – like the title, and the test patch – you need to cut it off! (remember, use paper scissors to do this!)
You also need, a good hot iron with no steam – turn the steam off and empty any remaining water from the iron – steam is your enemy!!!
why? because steam spreads your ink and makes blurry lines…
P1090555 P1090556
a hard ironing surface – not a nice soft and spongy ironing board. Make yourself a board – just a piece of wood with some wool batting or an old woollen blanket works well or I use my hard Quilters cut n press for small designs.
why? because soft and spongy makes blurry thick lines…
P1090557 (this is good as sometimes I can see the lines through the fabric to line up my design squarely) – note: can you see all the transfer lines on my mat – yes sometimes they go through so don't do it on your brand new ironing board cover from Aunt Mavis!
Cut your fabric to size – I always cut a little larger than needed and trim back later…
press the fabric to remove any creases…. if its already smooth still press it and warm up the fabric – prewarmed fabric takes the ink much better.
Position the cut out transfer design into position ink side down onto the fabric. ( I cut it out close to the edge of the design so I can position more accurately knowing where the edges of the design are.)
Place the iron flat onto one part of the paper. Hold a corner down away from the iron with a finger, hold in position for about 7-10 seconds ( this will vary depending on your iron and also the fabric you are using – that's why i include the test patch – test first!) the longer you hold the darker your design will be – but the less transfers you will get from your sheet – as the darker it is, the more ink you have used…and there is only so much on there..P1090589
Now, don’t slide the iron across the paper to the next spot!! yes, that's what everyone wants to do – but you will blur your lines…. believe me… please…. whilst holding the paper down with that finger lift the iron and position it down into the next spot… move your finger to another corner and repeat until you have covered the whole design… note: if you don't hold the paper down, when you lift the iron it will stick to it, lift off the fabric and you will never get it back down in the same place again….
P1090567 P1090570P1090571P1090568 P1090569 P1090573 Before you lift that last finger, carefully lift the corner to check that it is dark enough and you have all bits covered….
P1090599 P1090601 P1090603
It is nigh on impossible to reposition the transfer once you have lifted or moved it – so get it right the first time…
I get many questions regarding the iron on transfers so before you ask I’ll attempt to answer them below:
Do I need to prewash the fabric?- although I say on the instructions to prewash the fabric – I don't very often do that!
What type of fabrics do I have to use?
Some fabrics take the ink better than others, some linens are difficult, but overall most things work. It doesn't have to be a plain fabric, tone on tones also work well. The ink will transfer onto synthetic and natural fabrics but if using your piece in a quilt I recommend using a cotton fabric.
Will the ink wash out when I am finished?
This ink is permanent if there is any synthetic element to the fabric. It may wash or fade out of natural fibres (ie cotton) but this has very rarely happened for me so don't rely on your mistakes and blurry lines washing out – they wont – if its a mistake it wont be nice and just wash out for you! I have found it to fade on some fabrics when left in light areas, so if you don't intend using it for some time keep it stored in a dark container.
having said that, now that you have read my little tutorial you are going to transfer them perfectly every time…. and if you have an elna press – that will eliminate any need to move that iron and risk the double or blurred lines at all.
How can I make my own Iron on transfers? my transfers use a special and VERY expensive ink so at this time it is not affordable or available for home use. However there are other products available such as transfer eze, transfer pencils and several other products I have heard of but never tried. I do have a transfer printing service I offer to other designers and stores but it is also not viable for single prints at this time.
Now I’m off to prepare my fabric (that is iron a stabiliser to the back), put it into my hoop and stitch it up! I’ll show you the progress on my blog or Facebook page…
I hope that this helps you all to get a great result with your transfers…. so that you too ‘heart’ them….
off to stitch….
hugs, Helen
OH, just a footnote: I will be teaching some of these projects shown (with transfers) in May in the US – see here for details – would love to see you there…

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It's all about HEART and Color with Jennifer and her Color me this.. 2 guests today

Hello!  For those who don't know me, my name is Jennifer and I blog over at That Girl... That Quilt.  I work in a very black and white profession by day so it's always exciting to get to talk color! 

I love color.  The geometry and math of quilting are what initially attracted me but what drew me in and has kept me is the color.

The process of quilting is fascinating and I talk a lot about it on my blog.  I obsess over the color selection more than any other part of making the quilt.  The fabric, the print, the design... they are all secondary. 

image credit

A lot of color theory is based on the color wheel... primary colors... secondary colors... etc.  That's all well and good but it gets a little boring trying to find inspiration on a wheel.  I hear a lot of quilters talk about having trouble with color selection and I did too when I was trying to get inspired by a colorful yet one dimensional circle.

So how do we apply basic color theory to quilting?  Here's how I do it...

I draw my color inspiration from what's around me.  If something is pleasing to my eye then I bet it will be beautiful in a quilt.  If something in nature stops me in my tracks, a quilt could probably do the same.  I started taking pictures with my iPhone when I found something inspirational and I have never looked at my surroundings the same.

Purple & yellow.  Not quite the traditional color combination. 

But one look at my purple & yellow iris that bloom every spring...

and I knew that they had to become a quilt.

image credit

This also goes for beautiful photographs.

I was so inspired by the photo that I translated both the colors and the rooftops design into a quilt.  It's one of my very favorites.

And then there's Design Seeds.  I talk a lot about this site on my blog because it's an absolute genius idea.  They take ordinary objects, landscapes, still life, etc and pull the colors out for you.  It goes right along with my thought of finding something pleasing to your eye and transforming it into a quilt.

I've used Design Seeds here...

... to get these colors

and here...

... to pick these fabrics

Your choice of color can also help with your quilt design.  I designed this quilt backwards thinking about the negative space I wanted to create using a dark background with lighter colors.  This flip of color can make a quilt look completely different.

And last but not least, pick a favorite fabric and build your colors around that one.  The center fabric of this quilt is what I based the rest of the color choices on. 

Don't feel like you have to stick with the same line either.  Just be brave, find your favorite, and build around that one! 

pattern by Kate Conklin
The first time I did this, it was a little nerve wracking.  But then I started thinking about fabric designers and the fact that they probably have a pretty good idea of what colors look good together... they are designers after all. ;)

can you spot the mistake??
My one last tip for today... when in doubt, take a picture.  Doing so allows you to visually step back and look just at the photo instead of the distractions of background in the room.  My iPhone is full of photos of random quilts in progress.  This is my favorite way of making sure my colors and design are on track.

Thanks for having me today!  I always enjoy visiting here.  If you are looking for a pattern that will take you out of your color comfort zone and let you play with the concept of negative space and color values, I have a free step by step quilt along called Chasing Chevrons.  It's a 6 part series and I talk a lot more about color, how to choose your actual fabrics i.e. prints & solids, as well as step by step instructions for making a quilt if you are new to quilting. :)

I hope you will visit me soon... have a wonderful day!

Editors note...

I had asked Jennifer to talk about Color as FEBRUARY is all about lot's of color.
And nobody could do it better. Thanks Jennifer, this is one of these posts
we will be referring to often.