Monday, November 25, 2013

Don't like it? Dye it.

My scrap bag runneth over. I don't want to throw anything away and yet I'm not happy with the majority of the materials & colors in there.

I recently watched Quilting & Dyeing Serendipity with Ana Buzzalino - a Quilting Arts Workshop which aired on PBS. After watching I could not wait to reach for a bottle of dye. Ana uses Procion Dyes to dye her work - I didn't have any to hand (yet!) so I reached for a bottle of Tulip Liquid Red dye that I had sitting in the back of my cupboard.

Procion Dyes are interesting as they only dye natural fibers. My bottle of Red Tulip Liquid dye is supposed to dye both natural and synthetic fabrics. I didn't know if this would affect the Sulky variegated rayon thread I had used to quilt little areas.

Time to put together something to experiment with. I literally threw some scraps together in a mad rush, cut into them and added some solid curves. Practised some free motion quilting.

Here is my piece before I dipped it into the red dye. I didn't like it when I jammed it together and I don't like it much better now - although the quilting certainly did add a little interest to it. I do however like how dyeing it makes all the colors blend much more. It evens out the color values/tone. I'm eager to take this experiment (the dyeing not the rushed random piecing!) to a larger piece.

The variegated thread did change a little but not too much - and who ever labeled the green fabric as cotton was telling very big porky pies indeed!

You can see my free motion quilting skills are coming along nicely.

I was so interested in Ana's workshop as it now gives me infinite possibilities when recycling clothes into quilts. I can't wait to see where this new technique takes me.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Memorial Quilt: T-shirts

This is not your typical t-shirt quilt.

If you have not had the pleasure with working with t-shirts before - they are much harder to quilt than you would imagine. The material is not conducive to any complex piecing, non bulky seams and free motion quilting. When I was given these t-shirts (from a family whose Grandmother had passed away) I wasn't sure what I would do with the huge array of colors - the t-shirts also vary in their 'stretch', weave/texture, sheen and thickness.

Quilting this quilt was a mammoth effort. I certainly enhanced my arm and shoulder muscles pushing it through Bernie.

The quilting pattern is feathers - into flowers - into leaves - into swirls and finally into curvy lines. I hope that the quilting brings some movement to an otherwise blocky design. This is the back of the quilt. This is the most complex quilting design I have taken on so far - and I do have to thank my Craftsy lesson with Angela Walters for the skills I have picked up here.

I followed the change in colors with the change of free motion quilting patterns. 

Even the binding is from a t-shirt.

After I had finished the quilt I washed the quilt on a hot wash and dried it on a hot wash too - this treatment helps the t-shirts helps to 'settle in' some what to the way I have been asking them to comply.

I'm looking forward to seeing how far I can take quilting t-shirts in the future!

Technical Info:
Batting: Quilters Dream Wool Batting 100% Wool
Backing Fabric: 110" Wide Quilt Backing Butterfly White
Top: Client provided  t-shirts
Binding: Clients provided t-shirts
Quilting Thread (Top & Bobbin): Sulky® Clear Premier Invisible Thread

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thanksgiving Tree

It has become time again to change our seasonal tree. We took off the mice, spiders and cobwebs to make our Thanksgiving Tree.

I found some fake autumnal leaf vines on sale at JoAnn's and wound them around the bare branches. Then we picked out some yellow, orange, red, green & brown card and the girls mixed their own paint colors (from green, red & gold) and made hand-prints on the card. 

Once the paint was dry we cut out the hand-prints and hung them on the tree with gold ribbon.

On the back of each hand-print leaf my eldest bunny wrote all the things we were grateful for. Here is their very cute list:

the color green
pasta & meat
Castro (our dog)
my sister & brother
my scooter
color tree
blanket bunny
gold & silver glitter
my beautiful children
dressing up clothes
Oma (German for Grandma)
the whole entire world

Listening to the girl decide what they were thankful for was so cute - this might well be our new family tradition.

Take a look at the other projects we have done with our tree so far this year:
Valentine Tree
Swedish Easter Tree
Recycled Cherry Blossom Tree
Coffee Filter Butterfly Tree 
Halloween Tree

Monday, November 11, 2013

Machine Quilting Negative Space with Angela Walters

I recently purchased a class from Craftsy - Machine Quilting Negative Space with Angela Walters. It was a really inspiring class with so much information and ideas - all clearly and simply explained. In part of the class Angela shows you how to create a wide range of affects and patterns using swirls, circles & leave patterns. Angela is a born teacher - her emphasis is on simple patterns - that you should have fun with - perfection is not necessary. I was so inspired I grabbed this little quilt I have had lying around for ages and began swirling out a pattern on it.

I have long been pouring over Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project designs. But what I felt Angela showed so much more clearly was how to incorporate simple designs together and/or at different scales and voila you can create endless effects and designs. After I finished this portion of her class it was like 'ah ha' moment had clicked in my head and finally - finally - I seem to have made friends with my BSR foot.

I felt totally inspired and surprisingly confident at putting into practice what I had learnt after taking this Craftsy class online. I would recommend it it anyone who is learning to free motion quilt.

This little quilt was made from scraps I had left over from a fun little apron project in March 2009 and it is now available in my Etsy Store.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Memory Quilt: Recycled Baby Bedding

I was asked to make some new bedding for a family's little girl (5) who was graduating from her crib/toddler bed into brand new bunk beds. Her toddler bed had various bedding - a bed skirt, sheet, pillows & blanket.

We talked about what would be best and we decided that a duvet cover instead of a quilt would be most utilized.The aim was to make two matching duvet covers for each bunk.

I carefully took all the old bedding apart, washed it all, ironed and began to assess how much fabric we had. The family wanted a very classic calm design and we decided on plain squares - keeping them 5" in size so the duvets would seem classic but still modern.

I am pleased with the result. They look like something out of a Pottery Barn catalog. The flannel duvet covers are so soft and the weight of the quilted top make them feel very expensive - I'm not sure anyone would guess at first glance that these are a recycled project.
After I had pieced the tops I attached the quilted tops to cream flannel duvet cover top & added stitched detail using some Gutermann Heavy Duty Polyester Thread in straight lines.

I love how this looks - I will have to use this again on another project.

We still had a little bit of fabric left over so I made Teddy a little apron (happily modeled here by Felix the bunny)

.... and Teddy also got the cutest sleeping bag too (I haven't let my girls set eyes on this - I just know they would want thousands for all their stuffed toys!)

Here is the little package all together. Duvet on bed, 2nd duvet cover folded, Teddy's apron & Teddy's sleeping bag.


Other Recycled quilted projects:
Union Jack Sweater Quilt
9/11 Memorial Firefighters T-shirt Quilt
Memorial Uniform Quilt
Men's Cotton Shirt Quilt