I find I become a little manic when I’m anxious. I tend to do a lot of cleaning and organizing – and I’ve had a lot to do recently in that regard, so it’s been a good year so far.
We put some new shelving in the closets of my sewing room/office and I got a new desk, so I emptied my whole room, cleaned and rearranged a bit, now it feels much better. I still need to go through my fabric stash and organize it, but once that is done, I’ll be ready to start working on some new quilt ideas that have been rumbling around my head.
Another thing keeping me busy is the launch of our new online store. This entails so many things! Photography, marketing, designing, data entry, shipping, etc. – but I’m getting a little better at it all, and found some really great apps that help a lot. I’m so thankful for all the fantastic and supportive feedback we’ve received – I know this was a good thing to do.
I’m still working on my Kaleidoscope Quilt. I’m currently on the 7th chunk of the third round. Not sure if that makes sense… but I’m definitely making progress! I’m keeping track of my time and I’m currently over 210 hours of actual stitching time! It seems like a lot, but I try to dedicate at least 2 hours a day to sew, so I can see progress.
Since I’m going through my fabric stash, I’ve also been contemplating the Chakra quilts I’d like to do to go with the other two Chakra Quilts I’ve made. I think the first I will tackle will be the Throat Chakra. If you don’t speak your truth, this chakra can become blocked and causes all sorts of issues. A good description of the Throat Chakra here.
I don’t have many blues left in the fabrics I have… I will really need to think about how I want to go about this. I think to start, I’ll just start sewing little bits of scraps together to make larger pieces to work with. I really just want to work on my machine – hand work is great, but machine sewing is so fast and satisfying!
I just looked at my drafts for this blog and I have 6 unpublished posts from last month that I will not be posting. Each one of them is about dental pain, and anxiety, and the frustration of not having decent healthcare… and we each have our own version of that stress – so no need to hear it from me! This is the reason for my lack of presence lately.
Luckily, I did have an infected tooth extracted last week and I’m feeling like a different person altogether. Now I can focus on some really exciting new things in my world!
What am I talking about…?
Well, as you may, or may not know… my husband and I have a screen printing business and we’ve been printing t-shirts locally over 20 years here in Portland. T-shirts are great, but I’ve been wanting to get into fabric printing for a while!
Since our studio is set up for T-shirt printing, we are not capable of printing full yardage sizes of fabric, so we’ve been trying what we are calling “fabric panels” using our largest possible print size of 12″ x 13″. We are also using discharge and waterbased inks so that the fabric can be ironed directly and after washing. The ink is set into the fabric, rather than ON the fabric. These inks leave a residue on the fabric that should be washed prior to use. We’ve decided to serge the edges so we can wash and press each piece before selling. That way, they will be ready to use. I think they would be great as a quilt center or sewn into a tote bag… but since the edges are serged, they can be hung on the wall or sewn to a jacket back, or used as a pillow front. Of course they can also be cut up and used as quilting pieces too.
Resist Fabric Panels:
Honeybee Fabric Panels:
Love Is Love Fabric Panels:
Persist Fabric Panels:
Another new thing we are creating are Hand-Sewing Kits. NEPP (Not English Paper Pieced) is what I’m calling them. I’ve been working on my own hand-sewing projects for years and I’ve usually used the EPP (English Paper Pieced) method. I had a big epiphany on my last project that I could print the stitch lines onto the back of fabric and use a running stitch to piece them together. This saves a whole lot of time compared to EPP. When we first started thinking about this, we didn’t know how long the cutting would take (much longer than the printing!) but we think that the best thing about a kit is that you don’t have to do much extra other than sew. So… we will be doing all the cutting here so these kits will come ready to stitch together! If you’ve ever made an EPP project yourself, you would understand the value of this in time conservation! I also wanted to make something that wasn’t too daunting so that a first-time hand sewist can try a very small project before jumping into something larger.
Lucy NEPP Pattern Sample:
Myrtle NEPP Pattern Layout – each kit has it’s own colors.
Lucy NEPP Pattern Layout
Hand stitching using a running stitch and knotting at each corner.
Opal NEPP Layout
Putting individual kits together:
Our online store will be opening 2/12/18 with these items plus T-shirts and Hoodies, of course. We are starting to connect with other designers for quilt-related designs that we can feature on our site. This is fantastic because we love to work with other artists – it will also keeps things on our site fun and fresh!
Our main business is printing commercially for other groups and businesses, this is a brand new venture since it’s retail oriented. I’m very excited to start this new adventure…and I’m ready to be successful at it! You will notice a new tab in the menu for our online store ChickenScratch – next February, it will be open and ready to use!
Now that I have a hand-sewing project, I feel so much more at ease. Having something in my hands at night is great – keeps me from spinning out into negativity. Having the sew lines printed on the fabric makes this project pretty quick and easy! The hardest part is sewing in the diamond shapes in the right direction. (notice the gold diamonds below… they are sewn in the wrong direction here and I didn’t catch it till adding the next row)
Stitching on the lines is pretty easy – I just pin the end points to make sure they line up.Finally got all the diamonds sewn in the correct direction. Then I finished the center rosette – which is the same rosette used in the La Passacaglia quilt by Willyne Hammerstein. This is the back before pressing:This reminds me of those crepe paper things we did in elementary school, where you had little paper squares that you smooshed around a pencil end, dipped in glue and placed on a poster board… almost didn’t want to iron it.But I did, and I love it!! The back is a bit messy, but because of the sew lines, my shapes and points are pretty sweet! I’m doing the rest in bits or chunks to make the piecing easier. The next ring will consist of 10 matching chunks. I picked a size that would take 3-7 days to piece, so I can get through them at a timely pace. So this is my ‘chunk’ pattern:There are 4 different yellows, and 4 different light greys – so I had to make the pattern bigger to see what was what. I also have this to follow as I add pieces on – so they are stitched in the right place.My first chunk also had a neat looking back before I pressed it:Now I only have 9 left of these guys to make, then I’ll sew them onto the center and start another round of chunks!Actually, now I only have 8 more to stitch – just finished another chunk last night. Looking back over my notes, I have approximately 35 hours in sewing time already. Sounds like a lot of time, but it’s going much faster than EPP using a running stitch!
I would have to say this is a successful try at printing the stitch and sew lines on the back of these Kona solids! We are going to be printing more pieces and plan on opening an online store in February if all goes according to plan!
Pretty thrilled to report that I’ve started stitching my Kaleidoscope quilt last night! I put a lot of time and figuring into the design and layout and am happy with the look of it. The center is based off of the La Passacaglia Pattern by Willyne Hammerstein
I design on Adobe Illustrator. For this quilt I really wanted to save time – so my husband screen printed the sew and cut lines on the backs of all the solid fabric colors I needed. I used 3/4 yard of 21 different colors – which made a lot of little pieces! So many that it took two weeks to get them all cut – I can only cut for an hour or so before my joints start talking to me.
Once they were all printed, I could count how many of each piece I had in each color – and I had to adjust my layout often to accommodate my limited color palate. I like challenges like that! My whole idea for this quilt was: kaleidoscope… and the colors I chose are what I remember looking through one as a kid. I really like it where it’s at (I could re-work in a million different ways) so this is it!
Now I’m really curious as to how long it will take me to put this together! I spent 1.5 hours last night using a running stitch and this is how far I got:
There are approximately 3500 pieces in this which is fewer than my Wood Dragon Hexie Quilt – and that took me a year and a half to make. My hope is to finish this Kaleidoscope quilt within 6 months, but honestly, I really don’t know how long it will take. I do plan on keeping track of my time, so I’ll have a better estimation for future projects.
For now I’m just trying not to obsess too much and get other work done too, but I am really happy to have another hand project to be working on!
Thanks to my friend Miranda, I was inspired to try sewing a La Passacaglia rosette a few months back, and stitched it using the EPP (English Paper Piecing) method. It took some real time to get it done. I really liked how it came out and wanted to make another, but felt there had to be a better, faster way.
I had the *oh-so-original* idea of tracing the stitch lines from a template on the back of fabric and using a running stitch and no paper pieces – this worked really well. The only two negatives were:
The running stitch doesn’t seem as strong as a whipstitch.
Tracing the shape and cutting took almost as much time as EPP method.
After some research, I found out that many people use the running stitch, and if you’re really good, sewing the 1/4″ Y-seams comes naturally. For the rest of us, we need to draw in those stitch lines to know where to sew and where to stop for the corner of the Y-seam – and that is some seriously tedious work. So then, I had the idea of screen printing those shapes with cut and stitch lines on the back of solid fabrics to see if I could cut some time.
While we have a screen printing business, there is still some time and cost involved to create a print. After I design something on the computer, I send the final to a camera-house that outputs a piece of film-positive (opposite of a negative) that we can use to ‘shoot’ a screen. Once we have a piece of film-positive, we lay that onto a screen that has been coated with photo-sensitive emulsion and shine a light on it to ‘burn the screen’. The light hardens all the exposed emulsion, leaving the part under the opaque black of the film to stay soft, and after washing it out with water, there is a hole or ‘open’ part of the screen where we can push ink through and onto the fabric. read more
Since screen printing is quite a process, I wanted to make use of the time spent.
Then Fabric Depot ran a sale on Kona solids for $5/yard and I knew it was time to try this crazy plan.
I purchased 3/4 of a yard of fabric in 21 different colors – one of the biggest fabric purchases I’ve ever made… so it’s a little scary not knowing how this will all work out!
My husband printed 4 different layouts for me, using as much of the fabric as possible in printing, while leaving good cut lines. I appreciate him taking the 2 days in set up and printing time to print for me… he likes my idea and has always been completely supportive! The part I wasn’t planning on was the cutting. I’ve been cutting fabric pieces for 2 weeks on and off. I can only cut for an hour or two at a time without hurting my wrists. I honestly did not think that the cutting would take so long… but I’m close to having all the pieces from all 21 fabric colors cut and ready to sew!
I have a few patterns, and my idea was of a kaleidoscope – so the colors are bright and contrasting. I started with the La Passacaglia layout, but wanted to try my own layout. I think I have enough pieces to do a full sized quilt and still have some left over! I even have an idea of possibly selling these pieces in kits for smaller projects so people can try hand-stitching for a small project. I’ve been playing with a decagon layout that would make an awesome pillow cover – here are 3 versions:
There are so many possibilities!! My goal this next week is to try to do enough layouts to use up all the pieces we printed… or all in one quilt – not sure just yet how I’m going to use these, but it will come! It looks like treasure on this table right now… part of me wants to throw them all up into the air and roll around in them – but the organizer in me wouldn’t allow me to make a mess of this. 😉
Have you ever hand stitched using a running stitch? Do you have any tips to share?
So excited to have finished all the cutting for all the pieces we printed. I think that’s why it hasn’t been done before – the cutting has to be done by hand to work with the printing… and that is extremely labor intensive.
This whole project is a learning process, but I also think it’s going to make a kick-ass quilt! I’ve been having a hard time keeping this to myself… I wanted to be done with the cutting before sharing. Or maybe I should say I’ve been totally obsessing on the cutting and so haven’t spent much time doing anything else!
I’m so excited to start sewing on this… but I need to finish some layout plans first. Time to practice a little patience and focus on the designs.
THEN I can jump in 100% and sew to my little hearts content. 😉
I’ve been working hard over the last month or so to create patterns for all of my hexie quilts and projects, and I finally finished them all! I have them up at Craftsy.com where they might be seen a bit more than here. I’m really happy with the work I put in, I think they’ll be good.
It was interesting going back in time and looking at my notes to how to do certain things, and how those things evolved over time. I really do love working with the hexie shape!
Do you EPP? Which one would be your favorite? Leave a message below telling which pattern you’d choose and why. I’ll do a random drawing for a winner who will get the pattern of their choice in a digital .pdf format! Drawing will be on September 5, 2017.
Super excited to share my last quilt finish – the Hexie Hummingbird! This was a super fun project – especially trying to make-do with the fabric I have on hand. It’s a smaller quilt, finishing at 34″ wide x 39″ tall, perfect for a wall hanging.
When I last blogged about this project, I was trying to decide on a background fabric to appliqué the Hummingbird to… well, I think I found the best thing hidden in my stash. This is Petals in Violet by Alison Glass, and I think the hand-dyed nature of it makes the Hummingbird look magical. I also thought it was neat to use a hand-dyed fabric for my hand stitching work!
I had a small piece of Tula Pink’s Free Fall backing fabric that just barely covered the back of this piece, it was very dreamy to hand quilt. I only hand-quilted the Hummingbird itself – the background was free-motion-quilted with my Juki. I really loved how the hand quilting made a neat pattern on the back.
The hummingbird idea came to me while I was having cranial sacral work done, and I feel it has a deeper meaning than just an idea for a quilt. I know it’s a sacred totem for certain native tribes, but I do not know what exactly it symbolizes to them. For me, right now, I’m just seeing it as a good sign that I’m on the right path forward – where ever that may lead me.
I was able to finish up the binding at our PMQG monthly All-Day-Sew yesterday, which was really fun! I got to meet up with a quilter-fried from Minneapolis who is here visiting – we have many mutual friends, so it was really sweet to catch up. It also felt a little like worlds colliding, talking about people and experiences from years ago, all while happily quilting the day away. It was really grounding for me, and that is a good thing.
Lately, I’ve also been thinking and dreaming of making a yellow quilt, so I recently came up with a new design. At first, I wanted to try to make it monochromatic, but I decided it needed a little grey, white, and cream to make the yellow pop. The design is done and ready to go, but my yellow fabric supply is looking orange. Funny how yellow is… and then isn’t – as soon as you change the shade! I think it’s one of the hardest colors to work with, but I’m plugging forward. More about this quilt to come!
I brought the Jellyfish to my guild meeting last night for the first unveiling of it being totally finished… so now I can share here!
Jellyfish Hexie Quilt – Finished. Hand pieced, quilted, knotted, and bound.
What a thrill to have it completed. I was just talking to a friend about how I never used to be able to finish or follow through on anything… so this is really a step up for me personally. It’s the follow-though I’m most proud of… but it sure is pretty to look at too!
Here are some close-ups:
I tied a bunch of French Knots into this quilt – they look like bubbles and from a distance look like part of the fabric. They add so much depth and texture, I just love them. I had planned to quilt all the “water” with French Knots, but I changed my mind and used them sparingly and quilted it all with a fine silk thread.
Here is the right side with even more French Knots
This is the lower left side – I love those little bits of red in the “water”. You can also see the French Knots I used to ‘quilt’ the border white and cerise hexies.
I call this part “algae” because it ended up looking like something else floating in the water… maybe some food for the Jellyfish…?
This is the head – I used even more French Knots and lightly quilted it.
Here is the back… you can see a little more of the quilting here. Since I used a 100# silk thread, it’s barely visible, which gives the water a wonderful ripple-effect.
I used wool batting so it all fluffed up really sweet – shows the quilting so nicely. I’m totally hooked. I plan to use wool batting whenever I can, it’s dreamy to work with.
I have about 750 hexies made for my next project. I’m unsure as to what exactly I plan to make, but I just can’t stop making them – I’m hooked.
It is gorgeous out today here in Portland – sunny and warm for February. It’s not the norm, but I’ll take it!
Since joining the Portland Modern Quilt Guild, I have made some friends who are amazingly talented. They are inspirational and they have taught me so many things over the last 5 years. So I was thrilled to hear that our own Rachel Kerley won 2nd place for her “The Dishes Can Wait” Quilt at Quiltcon this week in applique! Congratulations! She has been a good friend and quilting mentor – shit… she was the one who showed me how to make hexies. Enough said!
Speaking of which, I’m almost done with the Jellyfish!! It’s all quilted, I’m just adding a few more French Knots, then I’m hand stitching the binding on. OMG so close!
The right side of the Jellyfish head is still being worked on, otherwise the rest is finished, and this is what the quilting is looking like:
Jellyfish Hexie Quilt – Progress shot – hand quilting and French Knots
I quilted the water with 100# silk thread, so it’s almost invisible. I’m using DMC pearl cotton for the French Knots and stitches in the head. I wasn’t quite sure how this was all going to turn out, but…
I LOVE IT. I can’t wait to show it at the next PMQG meeting in March.
After many tutorials, I’m trying to hand quilt my Jellyfish Hexie Quilt. It’s been quite a process of decision-making to figure out my plan of action. In the picture above you can see some of my quilting… and I have to be honest, it’s not as good as I would like it to be. My stitches are a little too far apart. Here is a close up:
Quilting the Jellyfish
I’m using a silk thread that was given to my by my friend Rachel who has been using it for her awesome appliquéd quilts. I love using it, it doesn’t fray or knot up at all… and it’s fairly invisible. My problem comes in when “rocking” my needle. I just can’t take small stitches! I figure it must be all the seam allowances making it difficult. Anyhoo… I’m going for it regardless! Sometimes you just need to do things, even if it’s not perfect.
I am thrilled with how my French Knots are turning out – I’m using them as “bubbles” in the water and will probably be adding more once I finish the quilting. I WAS going to only use French Knots to quilt this, but I thought it might look too messy, so I changed the plan.
French Knot “Bubbles”
I’m still working on ideas on how to quilt the actual Jellyfish… I think an idea will present itself when I’m ready to work on that part. For now, I’m just stitching away – I’m about 1/3 of the way through the “water” with quilting as is, although I may go back over all my stitches and add more. I just thought I’d share something to show how much of a learning curve I go though with each quilt I make.
While I was hoping to have this quilt finished by the end of this year, I’m still happy to be where I’m at. Happy New Year everyone!