Archive for the ‘Thread’ Category

Yellow Rose of Tedium

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

So I have this idea for an article.   Which requires (SHOOT ME) about ELEVEN of these 8×11 small quilts.  ALL THE SAME.  Shoot me please.  Now.  Can you say BORING?  But I want to do this test of stabilizers.

Yellow Rose by Sarah Ann Smith.   The first sample, with no stabilizer.   The two fabrics began the same size--even at this small scale you can see noticeable shrinkage just from quilting.

Yellow Rose by Sarah Ann Smith. The first sample, with no stabilizer. The two fabrics began the same size–even at this small scale you can see noticeable shrinkage just from quilting.

I’ve been in a number of exhibits where you have to have an exact size, like the Dinner@8 and Living Colour Textiles exhibits.  For the latter, size was to be 40 x 100 cm.  That’s 39 inches long.  My top was 44 inches long.   Once quilted, I had exactly enough to make 1/8″ seam allowances for my facings!

Amaryllis by Sarah Ann Smith (C) 2014.  See the Living Colour Exhibit at http://livingcolourtextiles.com/

Amaryllis by Sarah Ann Smith (C) 2014. See the Living Colour Exhibit at http://livingcolourtextiles.com/

YEP, the quilt shrank up FIVE flippin’ inches in length.  So I decided I needed to find a way to stop the massive shrinkage, and that means a foundation of some sort.   Jennifer Day likes one product; my friend Susan Brubaker Knapp prefers another.  I decided I needed to test a range of options.   So shoot me.  And please excuse me while I vanish for a week or two to quilt the same yellow rose umpteen times!  EEEEK!

Filming 3 segments for Quilting Arts TV! Part 1

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

WOWIE what a wonderful thing!   In February, when my friend Susan Brubaker Knapp was tapped to take over the hosting duties for Quilting Arts TV when Pokey Bolton stepped down (Pokey is now the Chief Creative Officer for Quilts, Inc., the wonderful folks that bring us Quilt-Mecca aka International Quilt Festival), Susan asked me if I would like to be on the show!  YOU BETCHA!   And what a wonderful six weeks it has been, prepping step-outs and samples and driving to Ohio to tape the three segments.

Getting ready to roll tape for my first segment on Quilting Arts TV, Series 1400.  I show you how to make my incredibly versatile Inside-Out Bag so you can customize size, pockets, techniques for the outside (pieced, applique, surface design).  The bag is quick and easy so it also makes a great special gift.

Getting ready to roll tape for my first segment on Quilting Arts TV, Series 1400.  On set with host Susan Brubaker Knapp.  I show you how to make my incredibly versatile Inside-Out Bag so you can customize size, pockets, techniques for the outside (pieced, applique, surface design). The bag is quick and easy so it also makes a great special gift.

If any of you are on Facebook, you may have seen the images Susan, Vivika Hansen DeNegre (executive Editor for Quilting Arts), I and other guests have posted, but here are some more.  And one of the best parts is, just like Houston, getting to meet folks in person that you first met online.   Jeannie Cook-Delpit of Bernina was there to help with the machines, and Sue Reno and I taped the same day so it was a blast to meet her.   Sue appears to do things the way I do:  be prepared to the max and pack in tons of great information. Sue also taped a DVD workshop on her cyanotype process that I know is going to be great!  I’m so looking forward to seeing Series 1400 which will begin airing on PBS in July.

First:  many thanks to Pokey Chatham Bolton, an amazing woman with vision and talent and drive:  who knew when she fell in love with crazy quilting and started a magazine in the back of her in-law’s sheep barn that Quilting Arts would become what it is today! I spoke with her after finding Issue #2 on the stand and called up to subscribe!  What a long way you’ve come and how much you have accomplished, Pokey!

Second:  many thanks to the sponsors of the show including Bernina of America, Coats and Clark, Havel’s Scissors and AQS.  THANK YOU for bringing this show to the happy quilters of the world!

I'm somewhere near the Pennsylvania-New York border on the Thruway driving toward Solon, Ohio (near Cleveland) where the show tapes.  I chose to drive rather than fly--I hate airports!  It didn't take much longer than flying, I could take everything with me, and listen to audio books en route.

I’m somewhere near the Pennsylvania-New York border on the Thruway driving toward Solon, Ohio (near Cleveland) where the show tapes. I chose to drive rather than fly–I hate airports! It didn’t take much longer than flying, I could take everything with me, and listen to audio books en route.

The trip from Maine to Ohio was 835 miles each way, so a full day and a half.  I left at 8 a.m. Tuesday and arrived in Ohio just in time for lunch.

This unassuming door is the entrance to the company (owned by a woman--YEAH!) that films and produces the show.  Well organized, lots of good pre-taping information and support--great staff!  Thank you Kathie, Katherine and all the crew that make us look good.

This unassuming door is the entrance to the company (owned by a woman–YEAH!) that films and produces the show. Well organized, lots of good pre-taping information and support–great staff! Thank you Kathie, Katherine and all the crew that make us look good.

Susan Brubaker Knapp is a wonderful artist, teacher, mother, friend, and she is going to be WONDERFUL as host.  They are keeping the format the same in general, but introducing a few small changes, first among them is that instead of three segments in a half hour, there will sometimes be two longer segments so we can share more in-depth information.  Susan is handling the chaos of taping with aplomb, asking great questions, and I couldn’t have felt more relaxed or comfortable with Susan, Vivika, Helen Gregory (now VP for Content at F+W/Interweave) and Kristine Lunblad of Quilting Arts.  Thank you to Kristine for taking all of these photos…it was so funny:  she’d have three cameras around her neck and as many phones to take the requisite “on set” photos for each segment.

TV lights do weird things to make up, so when taping for TV or a DVD workshop, a professional comes in to do your make up so you look good on camera.  Thank you Sue, because you succeeded!  Here I am taking a sorta blurry selfie after Sue worked her magic at the make-up/hair station.

TV lights do weird things to make up, so when taping for TV or a DVD workshop, a professional comes in to do your make up so you look good on camera. Thank you Sue, because you succeeded! Here I am taking a sorta blurry selfie after Sue worked her magic at the make-up/hair station.

The guests (meaning those of us on the show) were invited to bring outfit changes for our different episodes  They film 12 or 13 episodes at a time.  If you’ve seen the show in the past, you know Pokey had on a different outfit in each episode.  But the guests are in multiple episodes, and they all tape the same day.  So Susan had to change about a thousand times (well maybe five to seven) a day.  They have a bulletin board up with photos of Susan in outfit and jewelry, with “Day 1,”  “Day 2″ et cetera, so they could keep track of what she needed to be wearing for which segment/episode.  So I went in and looked at the photos to pick which of my tops to wear so we’d look good together.

Some of the trays for my segments:  the rear three are for the bags (the last tray is all the different bags I've made with this method), plus the one for the thread-needles segment.

Some of the trays for my segments: the rear three are for the bags (the last tray is all the different bags I’ve made with this method), plus the one for the thread-needles segment.  PS:  Marie Z. J.:  see your black-white-gray thread-catcher bag on the second tray?  I love it so much I brought it to use on set!

On the day I arrived, I set out all my stuff for the segments on trays (like great big sheet cake pans).  I guess I had a lot for the bags segment, as one staffer asked if I was taping a workshop (60-75 minutes) as well as a segment (mine were 10-12 minutes each). Hmmm.  Over-prepared?

And the last tray, for my free-motion quilting segment on taking the leap from walking foot to beginner designs.   Thanks to Jenny Bowker (blog here) for allowing me to adapt one of her teaching methods and share the way I teach it on the episode.  While we're speaking of Jenny, she has just undergone surgery for breast cancer in her Australian homeland.  Let's all send MASSIVE healing light and comfort and "nuke the cancer into oblivion" thoughts to speed along her recovery.  Go, JENNY!

And the last tray, for my free-motion quilting segment on taking the leap from walking foot to beginner designs. Thanks to Jenny Bowker (website here) for allowing me to adapt one of her teaching methods and share the way I teach it on the episode. While we’re speaking of Jenny, she has just undergone surgery for breast cancer in her Australian homeland. Let’s all send MASSIVE healing light and comfort and “nuke the cancer into oblivion” thoughts to speed along her recovery. Go, JENNY!

And my suitcase, emptied of projects but with a few quilts to decorate the set still inside.  And my take-with-me electric kettle which I take when driving.  Nothing like a relaxing cup of decaf tea (made properly with boiling water!) at the end of a long teaching day on the road!

And my suitcase, emptied of projects but with a few quilts to decorate the set still inside. And my take-with-me electric kettle which I take when driving. Nothing like a relaxing cup of decaf tea (made properly with boiling water!) at the end of a long teaching day on the road!

To close, a special Thank-you to hubby, who totally didn’t mind that I spent our 31st anniversary driving to Ohio and setting up my trays!

Next blogpost:  Taping my segments on Thursday!

A note:  where I live in rural Maine, alas we don’t get QA TV on our local PBS affiliate.   In some markets, the creative shows are on a PBS spin-off channel called CREATE TV.   If you get your TV on cable, you will likely be able to catch the show on air.   We have DirectTV, and alas no joy.  But you will be able to purchase the entire series or individual episodes (download only on the latter) once the series airs.

Gouache, Birthday Boy, Snow, and Thread

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Just a quickie catch-up post!   I’ll have some great news to share in a couple of weeks about what has been keeping me busier than my usual busy.   But I’ve also managed to squeeze in a few other things.  First in date order is two online classes with the delightful, talented, and superlative teacher Val Webb (website here).   This winter I had planned to relax and take two of her classes which overlap by about a month.  Despite the fact that you can really do a LOT of work (and LEARN a LOT), I decided to take both.  First one is Drawing Dogs and Cats, second one is Fairies (or as I prefer, Faeries) in Nature.

My Luna-Boy faerie in gouache, about 9 x 6 inches.

My Luna-Boy faerie in gouache, about 9 x 6 inches.

In Val’s classes, you learn not only about drawing, but also painting, as well as various media and techniques.  The lesson above is for small children as fairies, with wings, and gouache (which I have never used).  There are some technical issues; basically, I need practice with the medium!   But overall I am quite pleased with my Luna-boy.  In the next photo, we worked with graphite to sketch a dog.  His right eye is a bit off (thank you for the feedback, Val! I knew something was off but couldn’t spot it until you helped), but I’m fairly happy with this one, as well.  I attribute all good stuff with these two to the quality of Val’s teaching!

Sweet doggie, in graphite pencil.

Sweet doggie, in graphite pencil.

This week is also number 2 son’s 16th birthday.  How the child can be 16, weigh more than me (wooohooo! finally!), etc., defies comprehension.  Clearly the calendar lies.  Eli’s request for birthday dinner:  my waffles and Joshua’s parmesan fried chicken, an exact repeat of what Joshua had in early November.  As it was the beginning of the wrestling season, Eli couldn’t pig out.  This time he could and did <<grin>>!

We will NOT think about the calories involved in waffles and fried chicken.

We will NOT think about the calories involved in waffles and fried chicken.

Thanks to de facto DIL Ashley for taking pics as I brought in the birthday cake:

The calendar lies.  There is no way my youngest is 16.  I realize I am old enough to be his grandmother, but that is irrelevant LOL!   Eli, we love you to bits and are so thankful you came into our lives (even if we were and are old and tired!).

The calendar lies. There is no way my youngest is 16. I realize I am old enough to be his grandmother, but that is irrelevant LOL! Eli, we love you to bits and are so thankful you came into our lives (even if we were and are old and tired!).

She also got this great pic of Thumper the 26-toed cat.  As you can see, our cats pay us no mind.  Sigh.

Thumper.  Sigh.

Thumper. Sigh.

And guess what it is doing today.  Again.  Sigh again.

One more time.   At least it isn't sleeting a lot, as was predicted, and the temperature is now down to freezing or just below.

One more time. At least it isn’t sleeting a lot, as was predicted, and the temperature is now down to freezing or just below.

At least it is pretty–the flakes where HUGE!  We were predicted to get a lot of snow, school let out early, and we are all expecting it to be cancelled tomorrow.  Then the weather service predicted less snow, more ice and lots of sleet.  That is actually a lot worse.  But we haven’t had any sleet here in Hope, though beyond the ridge of hills on the coast is may be sleeting.  Here it has been snowing for about 7 hours.  We’ll see what the morning brings.  We will also fill buckets with water as it is likely to be heavy, wet snow and power could well go out.  Again.  Sigh.

And to end of a fun note, this fall I will be helping curate (i.e. be the behind the scenes worker bee) the new SAQA Food exhibit, open to SAQA members.  Alex Veronelli, mover and shaker at Aurifil Thread, will be the juror.  Just today I received the Quilts, Inc., eInsider newsletter, which had this profile of him.  It’s an interesting read.  Enjoy.

Now I need to go start on dinner.  Oh whee.

International Quilt Festival 2013, Houston, #6, Decorative Stitching!

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Time for another catch-up post, about my Decorative Stitch Applique class on Friday at Quilt Festival.   I’m on a yahoo group for Janome 6600-7700-8900 owners, and a discussion cropped up about using the decorative stitches and I realized I had yet to post this information, so here goes!

The Funky Chicken, from Sarah's Decorative Stitch Applique class in Houston

The Funky Chicken, from Sarah’s Decorative Stitch Applique class in Houston.  Right click to enlarge image.  I’ve stacked (grouped) stitches on this one.  For example, the checkerboard (in yellow upper left) is two passes of a satin stitch that has two columns of small alternating squares.  To the lower right of the green square, a scroll stitch is bracketed with scallops.  The center square is appliqued, stitched with the “V” stapes, then outlined with a bold straight stitch.  Done on a Janome 8900.

Ya know how we all have these fancy machines that do a bazillion things, and pretty much 98 percent of the time (or more) all we do is use the straight stitch and sometimes the zigzag?   Well, when I wrote my book, Threadwork Unraveled, I included a section to teach folks how to play with their fancy stitches. This is the project in the book and the regular class project.

Decorative Stitch sampler for my Decorative Stitch Class.

Decorative Stitch sampler for my Decorative Stitch Class.

I teach that section as a class which was offered this year at Quilt Festival.  This year I came up with a couple new projects as class options for students. Most of the students did the usual tossed leaves project for this class, but one loved my Funky Chicken.   Here she is early in the day, filling the background with fun stitch combinations in fun colors:

This student used the same colors as my sample.  We were luckily in the Janome classroom with the FABULOUS 15000 machines.  I've never been a fan of computer-screen sewing machine models, as I prefer visual knobs and buttons.  Well, let me tell that has changed!  I have severe sewing machine lust for one of these babies!  And they have even more (!!!) stitches than the already fabulous 8900!

This student used the same colors as my sample. We were luckily in the Janome classroom with the FABULOUS 15000 machines. I’ve never been a fan of computer-screen sewing machine models, as I prefer visual knobs and buttons. Well, let me tell that has changed! I have severe sewing machine lust for one of these babies! And they have even more (!!!) stitches than the already fabulous 8900!

Other students put their own spin on the leaves:

A student is making sample blocks with decorative stitches

A student is making sample blocks with decorative stitches.  This is a great way to test out pattern combinations–here she has a practice square to toss out and her “real” piece on the left.  If you have a practice square, that means you don’t have to pick out the stitches if you don’t like them!

Close up of decorative stitching on an aspen leaf.

Close up of decorative stitching on an aspen leaf.

This student tried a very bold, wide multi-stitch zigzag.

This student tried a very bold, wide multi-stitch zigzag.  You can see this is her practice bit–see how she has tested the appearance of various stitches in the strip on the right?

I made a smaller (about 9 inches square) quiltlet with the sampler leaf and the background stitching.  If you right click on this image, you can see more detail.  Notice how I layered up stitches to applique the green patch and how I used a decorative stitch on the binding.  On the latter, I used matching thread to machine stitch down the binding, then went over that with a decorative stitch.

I made a smaller (about 9 inches square) quiltlet with the sampler leaf and the background stitching. If you right click on this image, you can see more detail. Notice how I layered up stitches to applique the green patch and how I used a decorative stitch on the binding. On the latter, I used matching thread to machine stitch down the binding, then went over that with a decorative stitch.

And a happy student with her nearly-done funky chicken:

Thank you, Barb Brown of Colorado, for taking my class!   I love your chicken!

Thank you, Barb Brown of Colorado, for taking my class! I love your chicken!

The day ended with one of my favorite things at Festival:  FRIENDS!  This evening was the Dinner@8 artists.  Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison curate an exhibit each year for several years now, and I am thrilled to have been both invited to submit pieces and accepted in the exhibit!   My orca quilt, seen in earlier blogposts on Festival 2013, was in this year’s Exquisite Moment exhibit.  Here a bunch of us who were at Festival enjoy dinner and friendship and art!

One of the two tables of folks in the Dinner@8 exhibit.  Leslie is at the head of the table, next to Diane Rusin Doran (in pink), Susan Brubaker Knapp (glasses) and Lyric Kindard (only partly in the photo--sorry Lyric!)

One of the two tables of folks in the Dinner@8 exhibit. Leslie is at the head of the table, next to Diane Rusin Doran (in pink), Susan Brubaker Knapp (glasses) and Lyric Kinard

And too much fun not to include, Susan and I taking pictures of each other taking pictures!

And too much fun not to include, Susan and I taking pictures of each other taking pictures!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

International Quilt Festival 2013, Houston, #2

Thursday, November 21st, 2013
If it was Tuesday, that meant I was teaching Tame Fussy, Fiddly Threads!  As always, the students were brilliant!

If it was Tuesday, that meant I was teaching Tame Fussy, Fiddly Threads! As always, the students were brilliant!

Tuesday is the “down” day between Market (the trade show, which is only open to industry professionals, not the general public, ends on Monday) and Festival (which opens with a Preview night on Wednesday evening, then is open Thursday-Sunday).  Folks who attend Market often stay to take a class, and folks who attend Festival come early so they can take classes, then be free to enjoy the show and vendors on Thursday.  This year, I got to teach one of my favorite classes, Tame Fussy, Fiddly Threads, which is all about using metallics, holographics, and heavy threads (the kind that go through the needle, not bobbin work).

A student plays with heavy 30-wt So Fine thread from Superior Threads early in the day.

A student plays with heavy 30-wt So Fine thread from Superior Threads early in the day.

Since so many of my classes are fusing, I thought I’d mix it up when I formulated this class.  Instead, we make a stencil out of freezer paper and paint with Lumiere and ProFab textile paints.  Students can use my model or do their own thing (which I LOVE when they do that!).

This student chose gingko leaves pointing away from the center on the north-south/east-west axes. She then penciled in quilting guidelines on the black background.

This student chose gingko leaves pointing away from the center on the north-south/east-west axes. She then penciled in quilting guidelines on the black background.

In the supply list, I suggest a black background fabric.  I love this small black and charcoal check!  Her quilting is great…love the nestled-in quilted-only leaf next to the stenciled leaf, as well as the shading on her leaves, and how she alternated painted and not in the spray of leaves on the right.

This student was having fun!

This student was having fun!  Her background of black and gold fabric is somewhat visually busy, so she is wise to concentrate her stitching on the painted leaves as the print could obscure the lovely stitching.

Then in mid-morning a fun surprise!  The best thing about Festival is seeing folks you know from (mostly) the internet…the quilts are great too, but the quilters are the bestest!

Luana Rubin, founder with her  husband Paul of eQuilter, was at Festival and popped in to say hi!  We are both members of a small online group--there are not so many of us and we are VERY tight!  We respect everyone's privacy closely, so we can share and be sure that we will support each other and keep mum.  I also got to see Luana AND her daughter Sophie later on the show floor (photo in a future post).

Luana Rubin, founder with her husband Paul of eQuilter, was at Festival and popped in to the classroom to say hi! We are both members of a small online group–there are not so many of us and we are VERY tight! We respect everyone’s privacy closely, so we can share and be sure that we will support each other and keep mum. I also got to see Luana AND her daughter Sophie later on the show floor (photo in a future post).

Practicing on a sample sandwich before working on the stenciled piece.

Practicing on a sample sandwich before working on the stenciled piece. (Note her shirt, from Lopez Island Resort; Lopez is the island next door to San Juan Island where I used to live.  I swear everyone on the planet has either been to the islands or knows someone who lives or lived there!)

Another set of gingko leaves, this time on the diagonals, partially quilted.

Another set of gingko leaves, this time on the diagonals, partially quilted.

And the same leaves at the end of class.  Fabulous!

And the same leaves at the end of class. Fabulous!

Oak leaves are popular, too, and easy to draw!

Oak leaves are popular, too, and easy to draw! notice how she varied the thread for the leaves.  Would love to see how she quilts the acorns; we talked about doing a dense zigzaggy thing for the caps!

Love the quilted border!

Love the quilted border!

A happy student in a happy and talented classroom.  We got to use the Janome 9900s in class, which is similar to the machine I use at home.  FAB!

A happy student–the maker of those wonderful gingkos– in a happy and talented classroom. We got to use the Janome 9900s in class, which is similar to the machine I use at home. FAB!

And those glorious gingkos from above at the end of the day.  LOVE THIS!

And those glorious gingkos from above at the end of the day. LOVE THIS!

My next Houston post will share quilt pics, then I’ll do more on classes I taught, then more quilts, then even MORE quilts!