Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Making Progress

I have been working on my latest art quilt in my bias strip series. You can see the beginning of this work and where I want to go with it here on the And Then We Set It On Fire blog. Yesterday, I had a "stitching" at my house and worked on putting the two pieces together. First, here they are separately...

PIECE 1 (24" X 39")

PIECE 2 (16" X 18")

First, I taped together pieces of paper until I got a piece approximately 24" X 39" (the size of my orange piece). I then played with some shapes on the page until I was pretty satisfied with how it looked.
There is a line or two that shouldn't be here, but (in general) it shows the shapes I want to work with. You can see I have numbered the shapes. I drew these shapes onto freezer paper to make templates. I had previously put the blue piece (Piece 2) on my copier and made several copies of that design. I lightly ironed the freezer paper templates to the blue paper copies and cut them out. After removing the freezer paper (and reserving it to use when I need to actually cut shapes out of the blue cloth), I could play with the shapes and get a feel for what they would look like on the orange piece without actually cutting into the sewn blue piece.

Next, I pinned the blue paper shapes onto the orange piece while it was on my design wall.
I then pinned bias strips onto the piece to "cage" the blue paper shapes.
I think the bias strips make the whole piece pop! However, I really wasn't satisfied with the "heavy" piece at the bottom, so I revised. This is what it looks like now.
I like it better, but I'm thinking about adding a piece to the "empty" bias strip at the top right. As you can see (if you look closely at the shape on the lower right), I haven't made enough bias strips yet; so that has to be done too. Since I haven't cut into my pieced blue cloth yet, there is still room for lots more play. I may just try some improvisational placement of the bias strips and "cages" and see what happens with that. I'll post again, when I have that done.

What do you think?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tutorial--Making and Adding a Sleeve

Many times you will need a hanging sleeve for your quilt. I use the following method for making my sleeve.

If you are not entering your quilt in a contest, the size you make your hanging sleeve will depend on the width of your hanging rod. Usually, cutting a strip of fabric six to ten inches wide will work. (Contests often specify how large the finished size this sleeve needs to be. If the contest specifies that the sleeve needs to be 4 inches, you would cut your fabric 9 inches wide. This is how you would do the figuring..double the size of the sleeve and add one inch. 4" X 2=8" + 1"=9").

I usually cut my sleeve 1/2" shorter than the finished width of the quilt. (If my quilt measures 12" wide and I want a 4" finished sleeve, I cut my fabric 9" (see above) X 11 1/2" (12" - 1/2"=11 1/2").

First, I measure the quilt.
Once I've determined the width and length of the sleeve, these are the steps I follow.

1.  Cut the fabric the width and length you have previously determined. (Again, if your quilt measures 12" wide and you are making a 4" finished sleeve, cut your sleeve fabric 9" wide (see above) by 11 1/2" long.)
2.  Turn under 1/4" at each short end. Press.
3.  Turn under another 1/4" and press. Stitch this down using a running stitch on your machine.
4.  Fold the strip in half lengthwise with WRONG sides together and long edges even.
5.  Using a 1/2" seam allowance, stitch down the length of the hanging sleeve along the raw edge. (Don't press yet.)
6.  Next, I add an 1/8"-1/4" pleat. This adds a little give to the sleeve so the hanging rod doesn't put too much strain on the quilt. It also makes the sleeve adjustable (expandable to fit a thicker hanging rod). To stitch the pleat, position the sleeve with the raw edges to your left and the folded edge on your right. Use a basting stitch to stitch 1/8" to 1/4" from the edge of the fold.
7.  Now press the seam open. Center it on the "tube" you have created. Press the tube.
8.  Now position the sleeve approximately 1/2" from the top of your quilt leaving approximately the same margins on both sides.
9.  Pin the sleeve to the quilt positioning the pleat so it lies away from the quilt and it is along the middle of the sleeve. The seam (you pressed open) should be against the quilt backing.
10.  Blind stitch (by hand) the sleeve to the quilt being careful that your stitches do not go through to the front of the quilt. Stitch the top, bottom, and sides of the sleeve. (Be sure not to sew the sleeve ends shut!) Remove the basting stitches from the pleat. (If your quilt hasn't been made for a show and you choose to use a narrow hanging rod to hang the quilt, the pleat doesn't even have to be removed. If you decide later to use a stronger, thicker hanging rod, you can release the pleat (by removing the basting stitches) to create a larger space for the rod.)
You can see that you have a little extra room for the slat/rod you will use to hang the quilt.
I hope you find this tutorial to be of help to you when you are making a sleeve.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Check It Out!

I didn't get to go to the quilt show in Cincinnati, but my friends shopped for me. Here is the purchase I think I'm most excited about.
I gave my friends a list of items I wanted and asked them if they'd mind picking them up for me. They graciously said they would (and they felt very sorry for me since I couldn't go). Upon delivering my items, they said shopping with someone elese's money was really fun. Anyway...included in that list were these items--silk sari strips to use in a series of pieces I'm doing and sari yarn to play with. One of my fellow artists on the And Then We Set It On Fire blog, Beth Berman, mentioned that she loved using sari yarn. After I saw the yarn on her blog (Sew Sew Art), I knew right away that I had to have some. I LOVE the colors and can't wait to incorporate this yarn into some of my pieces. They picked up some other things for me, and I'll share those later on.

The other thing I'd like you to check out is the technique of the month on the And Then We Set It On Fire blog. Kathy Loomis is the guest artist on the blog this month. She has a great tutorial on piecing VERY narrow strips into your fabric. She also has included some examples of her work. (It's worth taking a look at these even if you aren't interested in trying the technique.) Check it out and let me know what you think.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New Post on And Then We Set It On Fire

As you know, I'm a resident artist on the And Then We Set It On Fire Blog. I just put up a new post this evening using a technique presented to us by Kathy Loomis.
 This is the largest of the two pieces (24" X 39"). If you'd like to see process pictures, close ups, and more...head on over to the post here--My Turn at Skinny Lines.
This piece measures approximately 16" X 18". I thought it was surprising that it turned out to be so uniform considering I didn't use a ruler at any time and didn't consciously cut the blue strips the same width.

Awhile back I did a drawing, Inspire Pro (an app I purchased for my iPad) for my Advanced Independent Study workshop with Jane Dunnewold. This is the drawing.
Do the components look familiar? I want to make a wall hanging that "joins" the two pieces I made. I'm not sure it will look like this, but...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Amish Quilt

I made this Amish quilt some time back. I was looking for a quilt to drape over the antique dry goods box I have in my entranceway and thought this one might be nice. As I look at the quilt, it strikes me that it might be called a "modern quilt" if a geometric quilting design had been chosen rather than the feather. I like the feather, though...it was my first attempt at machine quilting a feather wreath. It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be.

The pictures you can actually see are (from left to right) my handsome grandson (...and I'm totally objective in making that assessment) and my maternal grandparents. Isn't family grand?