Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category

How to make a Hanging Sleeve, or a return from oblivion

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Well, in late November my laptop started acting bizarre.  That led to getting ridiculously behind in EVERYTHING.  Add in the holidays and the beginning of Eli’s wrestling season and, well, it has been weeks since I surfaced here.  The good news is I have been VERY busy and productive, so now it’s time to start sharing.  And since “enter shows” season begins, I have drafted up a new, freebie PDF on how to make a hanging sleeve properly.  You can download the Hanging Sleeve–PDF, and it is also listed in the “Tutorials” section of my Resources page which is here.

A quick peek at my new PDF on How to Make a Hanging Sleeve

A quick peek at my new PDF on How to Make a Hanging Sleeve–click on the link above to download the complete instructions.

Guilds, shows and shops have my permission to download and reproduce this handout as long as it is downloaded in its entirety, nothing is changed, and credit is given to me with a link to my website.  In other words, something like “How to Make a Hanging Sleeve by Sarah Ann Smith, www.SarahAnnSmith.com.”    And I’m pretty sure it will in the not distant future be available on the SAQA website, as well.   I’ll update this post if/when that happens.

Given the way my life goes, I can’t promise I’ll be back soon, but I sure hope to try!

Quilting Arts TV–my free downloads

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Well, I’m only a little (ahem) behind the curve!  Finally discovered where the links are to my downloads, and folks LOVE my easy-peasy inside-out bag!  I am thinking of expanding the pattern and adding LOTS of options to make iPad cases, card cases, journal covers and more, so the popularity of the download thrills me!    Here are links:

If you watch Quilting Arts TV, these may look familiar, as they are on one of my episodes in season 1400 AND were in the 2014 Quilting Arts gifts magazine.

If you watch Quilting Arts TV, these may look familiar, as they are on one of my episodes in season 1400 AND were in the 2014 Quilting Arts gifts magazine.

Easy-Peasy Inside-Out Bag

Free-Motion Basics

Thread and Needle FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

I believe you need to have an Interweave/Quilting Arts account, which is free, to download theses freebies.  Enjoy!

 

 

An Embroidered Tote for Janome

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

As many of my loyal readers know, I sew on a Janome.  I have been incredibly fortunate to be a part of their artists and teachers loan program for an embarrassingly, blissfully long time.  THANK YOU, JANOME AMERICA (and yes, I’m shouting!)  As part of this program, I gladly and happily make things which they can use, whether it is a banner for their booth (and also used in their adverts!), a project used online, asking to teach in Janome classrooms at big shows, you  name it.  This season, I have been using a (gasp, gulp!) top of the line 15000 embroidery and quilting machine.  Links for a free tutorial on this caddy are at the end of this post.

Embroidered Caddy for Janome America.  The sewing machine is a built-in design on the top of the line Janome 15000.

Embroidered Caddy for Janome America. The sewing machine is a built-in design on the top of the line Janome 15000.  Right Click to see larger.  Thanks to Jean S.  I know now this design was created by Jill Buckley, who has fun stuff on her blog here.  Nice to meet you Jill!

Embroidery you say?   Well, I never would have thought that *I* would fall in love with machine embroidery–the pre-programmed kind, but I have.   I’ve got a project for fall that will be awesome using one of Lonni Rossi’s designs built into the machine.  But for spring, I have made that lovely little tote!  It is 4×8 inches (footprint), 5 inches tall.   I used two embroidery designs that are included on the machine along with the initials that are one of several included alphabets (see photo below for the other side).

One of the things that most surprised me is how easy the interface is with the software.  I’m not very patient with that sort of computer-ish stuff (and after all, these machines are really computers that sew).  This was SO EASY to size, position, all of it.  Even *I* could do it using the manual–no classes needed!  And utterly cool:  there is an iPad app that allows you to do stuff elsewhere in the house. With the iPad and your 15000 sharing your wifi network, you can view the progress of the stitch-out so you know if you need to go to your sewing machine and change thread colors or insert a full bobbin.  Totally cool!

FREE TUTORIAL!

Best of all, this project has just been featured on Janome’s blog where you can find a link to free instructions!   Today you can see my project here as a featured project.  Scroll down their blog to April 1 for a blogpost  on it.  Or go straight to the project, here.  At the bottom of that post is a link to download a PDF of my full instructions.

Here’s a view of the other side and the end:

Side two:  the Heart is also an included design, the font is called "Galant" and is also included on the machine.  It was surprisingly easy to create the design on the machine.  And if you happen to be my BFF living on SJI with the initials MZJ, yep--this is a sneak peek at part of your birthday present!  Red is the theme this year.....

Side two: the Heart is also an included design, the font is called “Galant” and is also included on the machine. It was surprisingly easy to create the design on the machine. And if you happen to be my BFF living on SJI with the initials MZJ, yep–this is a sneak peek at part of your birthday present! Red is the theme this year…..Right click to see larger.

End view of the caddy.  I used one of the built-in decorative stitches on the handle.

End view of the caddy. I used one of the built-in decorative stitches on the handle.

Thank you again, Janome, for years of support.  Your fabulous machines make it possible for me to do what I do!

Some of my favorite things!

Sunday, September 15th, 2013
The cover (back and front) of my DVD, Art Quilt Design From Photo to Threadwork, with Fabric Collage and Machine Quilting.  Order the DVD from me here, or the download and DVD from Quilting Arts/Interweave here.

The cover (back and front) of my DVD, Art Quilt Design From Photo to Threadwork, with Fabric Collage and Machine Quilting. Order the DVD from me here, or the download and DVD from Quilting Arts/Interweave here.  Right click so you can open in a new tab and read all the bits on the left.

Today I want to share some hotlinks to some of my favorite things, products that I use and recommend in my DVD.  By having the hotlinks, you can go straight to a site to order.  I expect I’ll be referring folks to this post for a long time; if you discover a link is no longer working, please let me know by leaving a comment or using the Contact Me page and I’ll try to find a new link.   Thanks!  Since this post is quite long, here is what you’ll find below:

  • Threadwork Unraveled, my book about all things thread
  • Point, Click, Quilt! by Susan Brubaker Knapp
  • Mistyfuse Adhesive Web
  • Mistyfuse Goddess Sheets
  • Transdoodle from Mistyfuse
  • Karen Kay Buckley’s Scissors
  • Janome 8900 Sewing Machine
  • Havel’s Scissors
  • Panasonic Titanium non-stick Iron
  • Textile Paints and Derwent Inktense Pencils

Threadwork Unraveled by me, Sarah Ann Smith

Cover425My book is about all things thread.  You’ll learn everything you need to know about thread, from how it is made to what will make your life easier, and your quilting better!  The book is organized in three sections:  The Basics, Applique, and Quilting, and is designed to be a reference book you’ll come back to again and again.  You’ll learn how needles, tension, your workspace, sewing machine, stabilizers, and other tools all help you in using all those wonderful threads now available.  I’ll help you understand how and why certain tools and notions work best and when another option is a better choice.  Click here to read more and to order.

Point, Click, Quilt

SusansBookI met Susan Brubaker Knapp over the internet and we have become friends.  We share a similar approach to our art and quilting, and her book is fabulous.  Especially in regard to my DVD and how I work,  I would like to recommend to you the first section on taking and selecting a good photo.  Susan talks about composition, lighting and cropping, all of which are essential to a successful work.  To learn more about Susan’s book, click here.

Mistyfuse Adhesive Web

MW01-2012-Mistyfuse_WhiteMUV01-2012-Mistyfuse_UltravioletMB01-2012-Mistyfuse_BlackI am a complete fan of Mistyfuse products.  I LOVE this fusible web!  It leaves such a light, soft hand, never “expires”, doesn’t gunk up the needle EVER, and works really well.   I also like that it does NOT come packaged with release paper (which in other brands either comes loose too easily, or sticks, or whatever); you use baking parchment of a non-stick press sheet (next item) which is less wasteful than all that release paper, and once you understand how to use Mistyfuse is infinitely easier!   For most projects you would want either the white or the Ultraviolet; the latter is best for light colored fabrics.  The black has lots of fun uses…  All items are listed on one page, so just scroll down until you see what you seek!

and Mistyfuse Goddess Sheets

Mistyfuse Fat Goddess Sheet

Mistyfuse Fat Goddess Sheet

Goddess Sheets are non-stick press sheets.  You could use Reynolds brand Baking Parchment, but these sheets won’t wrinkle and wear out or tear like Reynolds Baking Parchmnet.  I’ve been using my press sheets for YEARS–the only wear and tear is where I accidentally sliced off a sliver with my rotary cutter!   I prefer the largest sheets, the Fat Goddess, so named because it allows you to fuse up an entire Fat Quarter (18×22 inches) of fabric without having to move the sheet.  In fact,

and Transdoodle Transfer sheets and Saral Transfer Paper in a roll

11x17_TD-Jr_11–10To transfer designs, I use Transdoodle or trace; I don’t use a light box.  Either the fabric is light enough in color that I can trace by placing the fabric over the design, OR I layer things up with the fabric on the bottom, Transdoodle Transfer paper in the middle, and the pattern on top.  These sheets last a LONG time, can be used over and over and over again.   They come in 8 1/2 x 11 inch packs with white, yellow and blue in the package.  I use mostly the white and blue.  Saral is a transfer paper available in art supply stores and online and is available in sheets like Transdoodle and in rolls.  It lasts a while, but not nearly as long as Transdoodle.  However, sometimes you just want a long roll of white for a large design or motif.  You can find Saral  here at Dick Blick among other places..  I will note one caution:  if  like me you forget to test for removability, whenever you use ANYTHING yellow, TEST!  It doesn’t like to let go of some fabrics!

Janome 8900 Sewing Machine

My beloved Gandalf, well OK, he's really a Janome 8900.....

My beloved Gandalf, well OK, he’s really a Janome 8900…..

For quite a good long while now I have used and loved Janome’s wide-harp sewing/quilting machines, beginning with the 6500, then the 6600, 7700 and now the 8900.  I LOVE THEM!   In 2003 I was frustrated with my then-machine’s balkiness using assorted fun threads.  I wanted to decide what threads to use, not have my machine dictate what I could use because the machine would otherwise crab at me (for example, on that other-brand-machine, it didn’t like it when I used Superior Threads 40-wt poly in the needle and 60-wt  Bottom Line in the Bobbin; ALL the Janomes I have used  handle that with ease).  When I test-drove the 6500 it handled every thread I put on it with ease, as has every machine since.  I was so in love with my 6500 I didn’t think they could make it better but with each generation they have.   A HUGE, HUGE HUGE Thank you to Janome America for their long-term support of me!  I think I’ll go hug my Janome 8900 right now!

Karen Kay Buckley’s scissors

Karen Kay Buckley Large scissors, my most frequently used

Karen Kay Buckley Large scissors, my most frequently used

Karen Kay Buckley's Medium scissors, which may soon take over as my most-often-used scissors

Karen Kay Buckley’s Medium scissors, which may soon take over as my most-often-used scissors

Karen Kay Buckley's curved tip scissors, great for trimming.  At first didn't think I'd use these much, so surprised at how useful I have found them.  Nice large finger holes!

Karen Kay Buckley’s curved tip scissors, great for trimming. At first didn’t think I’d use these much, so surprised at how useful I have found them. Nice large finger holes!

Karen Kay Buckley's Little scissors, great for detail work

Karen Kay Buckley’s Little scissors, great for detail work

Honestly, I love and use all four of them!    They are well worth the not- expensive price, and will likely soon become YOUR favorites, too. You can find all four of these scissors here on Karen Kay Buckley’s website.  Karen’s products are great; she spent a lot of time perfecting these scissors, and they are now taking off in popularity with good reason!  The Large, Medium and Small are all non-stick coated which is great for working with fusibles!

Havel’s Scissors

Havel's 5 1/2 inch curved tip embroidery scissors

Havel’s 5 1/2 inch curved tip embroidery scissors

The 5 1/2″ curved tip Embroidery scissors from Havel’s are also great.  I find I use them most at the sewing machine. I particularly like the length of the curved blades at the machine.  Thank you!!!!  to Havel’s for sponsoring various and sundry Quilting Arts TV and for sponsoring several Dinner@8 exhibits and International Quilt Festival over the past several years!  And, drum roll–Havel’s is also donating goodies for my part of the Bloghop and Giveaways to celebrate the release on my DVD (more on that on September 17, 2013; giveaways will be in September and November 2013). Thank you!

Panasonic Non-Stick Titanium Coated Iron

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Panasonic TITANIUM Non-stick iron. Titanium coating is usually a gold color. Gunk just wipes clean!

Oh how I LOVE LOVE LOVE this iron!   The key word appears to be Titanium–other non-stick irons don’t work the same way!   And of course this one is lime green–this is GOOD!   There are several models available at the moment on Amazon.  The one pictured is here.  They have other model numbers, different colors.  They key thing is the word “titanium” in the description.   You can put this iron down right on the Mistyfuse, let it melt onto the soleplate, and then wipe it clean!   No more Hot Iron Cleaner!  No more nasty fumes!  For the price of four or five tubes of iron cleaner, you get an iron you can wipe clean!   Mo’ bettah!

Superior Threads

Oooh pretty colors, so many colors!   a.k.a. Sarah's thread stash!

Oooh pretty colors, so many colors! a.k.a. Sarah’s thread stash!

There are many brilliant threads out there now, that is one of the things that prompted me to write my book:  so that folks could understand how to use them.  Since I teach, I try to be fair, honest, and give all companies an equal chance.  There are a number of companies that make threads I use, respect and like:  Superior Threads, Aurifil, Madeira, Isacord and others.   But Superior is far and away the best at striving to educate the public.   I highly recommend the Education section of the Superior Threads website.   As well, they make brilliant quality threads, stand behind their products, and have great customer service.   When I switched from quilting with only cottons to using a wide range of threads (thanks to my Janome’s ability to do so without a grump), I decided to build my stash to “one of each please”–the thread equivalent of the BIG box of crayons!  I did so 10 or 12 spools at a time, and having a wide range makes it so much easier for me to do my thread-coloring.

Textile Paint and Derwent Inktense Pencils

You could spend years having fun with surface design, textile paints, drawing materials and dyes.   My DVD just mentions the use of transparent Textile Paints and Derwent Inktense pencils.   To take the easy one first, Derwent Inktense pencils look like a pencil but, when activated with water and set according to instructions, they are pretty much permanent.  The lead used is also available as blocks, but for the way I used them a pencil works better.  You can find the box of 12 colors here at the Interweave Store;  one year for Christmas I asked for and received the box of 72 (of course I wanted the BIG tin!).  We got it here, at Dick Blick.

There are many, Many, MANY types of textile paints including opaque, transparent, metallic and so on.  You’ll find different ways to use them, too.   In my DVD I used Setacolor Transparent Textile paints (here at Dick Blick , please note this link takes you to a page with opaque as well as transparent–check the instruction in the video to see what you prefer).  I also love Jacquard Lumiere paints, which are opaque, metallic and delicious (Lumiere here at Dick Blick).   Last but definitely not least, I really like the paints made by Pro Chemical and Dye, a dye house in Fall River, Massachusetts.   Click here to visit Pro Chem‘s paint page, where you can find transparent, opaque and metallic textile paints.

Quilting the Egg

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Eggs on White…an exercise in learning to SEE.

A few years ago, one of our younger son’s karate teachers told me about a drawing exercise he learned from Jaime Wyeth (!!!!).  Place a white egg on a piece of white paper and then draw it.  By eliminating all color, the exercise helps you REALLY focus on where the shadows are, reflected light, shape.  So last year about this time, I tried it in my sketchbook.  First I used pencil, but then wondered what it would be like in watercolors (over which I do not have expert control, ahem), pen, and so on.  I tried the pen because before the advent of photography, pictures in newspapers and books were often engravings, rendered by using lines, dots, cross-hatching to create light, dark, shading and shape.  Finally (duh, Sarah) it occurred to me that the same exercise would be well applied to thread and cloth.

  • And a note:  by the time you get to the end of this post (which is long…sorry!), I can just hear many of you saying “I could NEVER draw like that.”  Well, neither could I when I began.  I’ve learned, and so can you, you just need to try.  I’ve learned to teach myself drawing, learned to SEE.  I recommend Betty Edwards’ The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain very highly.

A whole lot of our thread-coloring, quilting with thread, thread-sketching–whatever you want to call it, is achieved the same way artists used pen and ink in the days of yore. You use the direction of the stitching to create a contour, like on a hiker’s contour map of the terrain.  And you can use different colors or use the same color applied more densely to create variations in value–the range of color from light to dark.

One of my first efforts at eggs, using a water-soluble gray ink pen.

When I started playing around, of course I didn’t want to muck up the expensive watercolor paper, so I did a few test-sketches on copy paper:

Practicing directions and types of line to create shading for the eggs. The S and XS are reminders about the size tip on the pen I used, a Pitt permanent black ink similar to the Pigma Microns.  I have found that my Pigma pens just dry out too quickly, and that the Pitt pens work as well on cloth and seem to last longer for me.

Then I tried by drawing in pencil first.  In this photo, I’ve included the eggs on white paper in the background and my ink sketch in the foreground:

The eggs and the ink drawing, which I did to simulate on paper what I might do in cloth.  This sketch was done relatively quickly, so I’m pleased that it gives a decent rendition without taking eons to do it.  If you look carefully at the egg on the right, look at the  left side.  There is a triangular wedge of shadow BUT at the bottom, *under* the edge of the egg, it actually becomes a brighter / lighter gray from light being reflected and bounced up off the white paper!  Whooda thunk it?  And just in front of the tip of that egg…notice that glow of white *under* the egg?   It’s amazing what you can see when you really start LOOKING at something!

Next, a comparison using three different media:

From top to bottom, the eggs done in pencil, watercolor and ink.

Then this year I signed up to teach at Friday Sampler in Houston; think of this as speed dating for quilters!  About 20 teachers are in a ginormous room at the Houston convention center, each with their own Station (one or two tables).  The teacher does brief (5-10 minute) presentations…same one over and over.  The students/participants can come into the room and move from station to station at will to see what each teacher has to offer.  I’ll be talking about Thread-Coloring, so I thought it would be the ideal time to do up some new samples to teach how to see light and dark, light and shade.

This sample shows the lines I drew in blue pen (quilted in a similar blue since over time those blue pens can fade out with humidity!), followed by three variations in quilting them.  The top two quilted ones are stitched with ONE color of gray thread (the new Magnifico poly from Superior Threads, and it is magnifico!).  The bottom set of eggs is quilted with white and three shades of gray (light, medium, dark). You’ll notice two sets of cast shadows…that is because there was light coming from two directions:  the electric light and the window.

All four versions in thread: the blue is to represent the markings I put on the quilt. The second set of eggs is quilted with cross-hatching of sorts using one color of gray thread. The third set of eggs is quilted with a scribble using one color of gray thread, and the bottom/fourth set of eggs is quilted with the same scribble but using three shades of gray. For all three of the quilted sets I kept the way I stitched the shadows consistent to make comparisons easier.

Just as I did with my paper sketches, I did some practice runs on an old warm-up quilting sandwich:

It’s good to try out various options on a scrap quilt sandwich before working on the real thing.

I’m not thrilled with the cross-hatch stitching I did on the final sample…those ovals on the top just don’t do it for me.  I would not use this quilting on an actual art quilt…that’s the benefit of test-driving quilt designs on scraps and samples.  I really liked the way the scribble versions turned out, though!  Here are some close-up photos so you can see better:

The “marked” (blue) design and the first of the quilted eggs.

The bottom two quilted sets of eggs.