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Archive for the ‘Thread-coloring’ Category

I Love, Therefore I Am (Widgeon’s quilt)

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019
“I Love, Therefore I Am” is the perfect title for this quilt of our beloved pug, Pigwidgeon.

Earlier this summer I made three quilts for Janome America to share at the upcoming dealer conference in Florida this week. Janome has generously sponsored me with a machine and included me in their Artisan program for over 15 years!!!! THANK YOU (yes I’m shouting)! I was delighted to make these in appreciation. Here is the blurb I wrote to go with Widgeon’s quilt.

I Love, Therefore I Am
 
Yoda, the love of my life, tells me that Mom has done a good job on my portrait.  Mom and I were sitting on the porch in late Spring even though it wasn’t quite yet warm enough, so I snuggled under the blanket and kept her company (and warm) one afternoon.  I don’t see or hear very well any more, but Yoda tells me the picture shows how much I love everyone in the whole universe, especially him, my boy, Mom, the rest of my family, and well, the whole world.”  (Pigwidgeon is a 12 year-old industrial-sized pug.)

My Facebook friends know Widgeon because of my dog walkies posts and other photos. My friend Rachel Parris commented on this photo that it was the best one I had ever taken of him, and the idea for the quilt was born! Often I end up working too much during summer and don’t get my “Porch Time” to relax, read, and enjoy life in Maine. So this year I started early, in our long, late, cold Spring, wrapped up in warm fuzzy clothes with a two-layer fleece blanket on my lap and the dog snuggled underneath.

This post will be mostly photos and captions (because we all know photos are better). They show the sequence of how I work, and towards the bottom if you keep going you’ll be rewarded with a mini-tutorial on couched and faced edges. And yes (gratuitous self promotion here) I TEACH classes on how to do this –my Bindings and Facings and Piping, Oh MY! class, and also my collage and thread coloring process: Collage the Garden and Thread-Coloring the Garden–just click the link. Have students (and contract) will travel (hint hint).

As you can see, the work area ends up just a bit messy! I tend to sort prefused (Mistyfuse ROCKS! It changed my life!) fabrics by color and value, then start working. The heaps are the “sorted” stuff (ha!). Widgeon is coming to lay down right under my feet so I can trip over him. He likes to stay close to his beloveds.
Sometimes Yoda supervises…..
Folks say “Oh that’s the perfect fabric for the nose.” Sorta. This is seven pieces of fabric, and that’s about half of the fifteen or so tiny bits that eventually created his nose. You can see the sketch under the non-stick mat (check out Goddess Sheets at Mistyfuse.com).
Here I’m looking at what to use for the background. I used pale yellow (on which I used a pale gray pen) for the book in my lap. The pale aqua for the pillow on the left got changed for a darker value.

Now it’s time for that mini tutorial on couching yarn for quilts with facings.

Most of the time, my quilts have facings, and some of the time they *also* have yarn couched on the edges. This makes the edges more crisp and makes it WAY easier to turn the edges in a perfect straight line (provided the yarn is sewn ON in a perfect straight line). This is what the bottom of the pin tuck foot looks like. Mine is a five-groove. There are other sizes (seven I think, and maybe three), which I prefer to the usual “couching” foot because I can fit the yarn to the groove that will best control placement. See how the yarn fills the groove…not too big, not too little, but just right.
I used 2.5 stitch width and length, then reduced the presser foot pressure (how much it pushes down on what is going under the needle) to couch the yarn that ends up on the edge of the quilt.
You can see the yarn is in the center groove of the 5-groove pin tuck foot. It is the perfect sized groove for the cotton yarn I favor for sharp edges on quilts with facings. I always used to chalk-mark where I wanted the yarn to go and then hold it in place with pins and my finger. But even then it would sometimes wobble, requiring picking out the stitching and fixing. Then I discovered a much better way on this quilt!
Drum Roll! Sound the Trumpets! A Better Way!!!! Using a ruler, Janome’s pin tuck foot, and a narrow open zigzag makes couching yarn on what will be the edge of the quilt easy! It worked best for me if I let the ruler hang over the edge and use the 1″ line. If I used the end of the ruler it was actually harder to see if it was perfectly aligned with the trimmed edge. And yeah, lookit all that threadwork!
Gotta love Janome’s great presser feet and plate markings, which make it possible to create a perfect facing. In my class I explain some of the extra stuff I do that makes my facings behave so well.
Wonder Clips by Clover. Buy them. Buy a whole lot of them. SO MUCH BETTER than being skewered by pins. If you buy the big set from Clover, they come in a well made reusable box.
I Love, Therefore I am. A view of the quilting from an angle which shows the stitching better.
And a close up of the Beloved.

To see Yoda’s quilt, go to this post. Next, I’ll share Boo’s. He is the Usurper. The Delinquent. Chirpy.

Take a class with me in Houston!

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

WOOT! The International Quilt Festival Houston catalog is starting to ship and online registration–yes, ONLINE, with instant knowing if you got into the class, goes live in July (I’ll post when it does). If you’d like to take a workshop with me, now’s your chance because I’m teaching a ton of my favorite workshops. For more detail on any of these classes, please visit the Classes/workshops page of my website and scroll down to the individual class–you’ll find a supply list PDF and sometimes links to blogposts about previous workshops sharing student work. Here’s the list including class numbers:

To look at MY classes, head to the link for all classes and search by day or by name. The classes are listed in numerical order: #100 series are on Monday, #200 on Tuesday and so on, with the exception that Friday is #500, Friday EVENING is #600, and then Saturday is #700. That way you can find what classes are available on the day(s) you are at Festival.

Collage the Garden workshop: Inspired by a wild tiger lily on the roadside in Maine–learn to create a fused collage by creating your own pattern (several ways to the same goal), then create a top to finish at home

I’m thrilled that Quilts Inc. booked both days of my Quilting the Garden workshops! On Tuesday, learn my Collage the Garden process for creating fused quilts. You’ll learn how to create a working plan/pattern from photos and fuse an 11×14 collaged quilt of a flower, but the process can be applied to anything including people, animals, landscapes, you name it.

Thread Coloring the Garden is on Wednesday: enjoy an easy prep with this kitted class where you learn how to add depth, dimension and detail to your art quilts.

On Wednesday, Thread Coloring the Garden is all about the machine quilting and learning how I select and use thread to color and bring the quilt top to live To eliminate the stress of worrying about messing up that gorgeous top you’ve worked so hard to create, we work with a photo of a day lily printed on cloth (class has a kit [fee] with flower, thread, etc.) so that you gain confidence learning the quilting before you tackle your own masterpiece.

At the Machine Quilting Forum I’ll talk about using metallic, holographic, heavy and other so-called (not-so) fussy threads. If you’d like to take the full workshop, you CAN–on Friday (keep reading!)

Thursday is a busy day. In the Morning I’ll be presenting at the Machine Quilting Forum, where I’ll share some of my current work and share some tricks for working with what some folks think are fussy fiddly threads but really aren’t so fussy or fiddly!. In the afternoon, it’s a TOTALLY FUN half day class making my patented Easy-Peasy Inside-Out Bag–they’re like potato chips, you can’t stop with just one!

Easy-Peasy Inside-Out Bag workshop with Sarah Ann Smith: Once you learn the basic process, these are easy to adapt into card carryers and book or sketchbook covers!
Friday it is the full workshop for Tame Fussy Fiddly Threads. You’ll need black fabric and batting, the paint, supplies and decorative threads are supplied.

Friday Evening I’ll be part of the Date Night Sampler, where I’ll show using paint on cloth to work smarter, not harder! And if you’d like an immersive paint on cloth workshop with me, stay tuned–good news for a 3-day class in August 2020…will be able to share in September.

Saturday you can learn my approach to Hawaiian style Applique by Machine: we use my freezer paper technique for creating TWO fused blocks to appliqué by machine. You will try a small block to get the hang of it, then start on your 18″ block.

Hawaiian Style Applique by Machine is on for my final teaching day. Though I am known for my art quilting, I love ALL types of quilting, and my love for Hawaiian style quilts launched my career in quilting, and I love it to this day. Come for a day of fun and learning!

I hope to see you in Houston, especially in my classes! I might even still be coherent (?) by Saturday evening, though I think a Margarita may be on the menu once the teaching is complete!

Lupines: the quilting begins!

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Ever so slightly ahead of schedule, I have begun quilting on the Lupines. Luckily (and one reason I chose this imagery) this will be easy quilting.  And yes, once again, I LOVE MY BERNINA Q20.  Crazy expensive and worth Every. Single. Penny.   Lots and LOTS of pennies.

This morning I finished basting the Lupines quilt.  I decided to try something I haven’t done before:  a double batt.   I definitely wanted to use wool, but I haven’t been able to find a source for my favorite Matilda’s Own Wool-poly blend batt in the US recently, and I’m hoarding my last batt.   So I used  Quilters’ Dream Wool which is much fluffier; I fused my top to that.

BUT I was concerned about distortion because of the fluffiness–it just didn’t feel like it would hang well and be stable.  Dreamy (pun intended) in a bed, lap or snuggle quilt, but by itself on a densely quilted wall quilt?  Not so much.  So I took the only cotton batting I had, Quilters Dream Select, and layered that underneath the wool.  If I had had Request, the thinnest, I would have used that instead.  Finally, spray basted the backing and safety pinned intermittently.  I am using up long lengths of print fabric in my stash when they suit the quilt–time to move them along.  Will have to dye something to match for facings and hanging sleeve.

I also selected thread yesterday afternoon and this morning.

When I choose thread for a quilt, I “test drive” it by drizzling on the surface. If it works, it goes in the shallow box. I probably won’t use all of these, but will use most of them–about half the solid greens and almost all of the rest. And I added a medium purple this morning and will likely not use the dark purple in the box at all.

Things I have learned so far:

  • Painting a nonwoven is a good thing.  But if that nonwoven is Pellon 65 heavyweight interfacing, it is somewhat like using construction paper.  Will do the non woven thing again, but will look for something softer yet still dense (so no shadow through).
  • Mistyfuse is by far my fusible of choice.  But it behaves differently on the interfacing than it does on cloth.  If I fuse this particular interfacing again, I will use TWO layers of Mistyfuse–it is plenty fine and easy to stitch, and it will help this painted interfacing stick better–see photo.

Because of the difference (in porosity maybe?) between fabric and interfacing, my fusible isn’t sticking quite as well as usual. So I have re-fused various spots, and in a couple of cases tucked snippets of Mistyfuse under the stubborn lifting petals. I found, luckily, that if I am careful I can still quilt those lifting petals because the interfacing doesn’t wobble around like fabric.

And to my astonishment, I quilted almost five of the six purple lupines today.  I have a couple of the tops where I will use pale lilac or cream unstitched as of this evening, but I am definitely farther along than I thought I would be.

Quilting in progress…done on the right, not done on the left. Using just one purple thread to stitch down the petals/quilt down the petals is working out OK despite the value changes from petal to petal.

That means the “after Eli goes back to college” period may be less frantic than I had feared. YIPPEE!  Barring catastrophe, I will be one and able to take photos and submit then ON TIME.  Stay tuned!

 

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Autumn on Blueberry Lane

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

This quilt was inevitable.    Right click to view larger.  That thing in the middle is the needle bar of my Bernina Q20.  Notice the difference as I lay in the grasses along the edge of the driveway:  done on the far left, upper grass done on the near left, upper and lower grasses done on the near right (but not the tall grass which will happen in the final pass back to the right), and no stitching at all.

This photo is not the full quilt, but the quilt is a strong horizontal, and this shows more of it than I’ve shared to date on Facebook.  I’ll share the full quilt in mid March when I tape my Quilting Arts TV episode on one of the techniques I’ve developed and used in this quilt.

The photo below, taken in October 2015, was my inspiration, along with every autumn blueberry barrens I have ever seen.  The colors in the wild blueberry bushes are just beyond belief.  So I dyed a lot of fabric and went to town!

More autumn decay with blueberry barrens, decaying stone wall and birches in autumn in Maine.
The usual edits: smart sharpen, tiny bit of vibrance, crunching levels.

Hand dyeing fabric inspired by the blueberry barrens Maine (they look the same in Nova Scotia, too)

Same colors, different technique, scrunch

Scrunch and done. I used just about every single bit of this piece of fabric except for the more pink bits.   The blueberries are more of a russet and burgundy…this needs a touch more yellow in the red to get to that color.  

I’m still doing the facings and hanging sleeve…I’ll share the finished quilt in March, unless I change my mind and do it sooner!

 

 

Sweet Sixteen for sale…nearly new!

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Update:  machine is sold.  About a year ago I took delivery of a wonderful machine:  the HQ Sweet 16 sit-down quilting machine.  It has both regular and ruler feet, all the regular parts.  In outstanding working order, well maintained, clean.  I’ve got all the original packing materials for transporting it to you.   I’m also including 14 M-class bobbins (empty) and a bunch of appropriate machine needles.  I will say the HQ dealer and tech support is OUTSTANDING.  I’ve decided to upgrade, and need to sell this one to make way for the next beastie.  MSRP is $5,599. For sale for $3750 plus shipping.  If you live within a 4 1/2 hour drive of Camden, Maine, I’ll deliver to your driveway free of charge!

Contact Sarah at the Contact Me page or comment on this post.  You can also find more information about this beauty on the Handiquilter site here and here.

HQ Sweet Sixteen for Sale (Sept 2016), just under one year old, mint condition

HQ Sweet Sixteen for Sale (Sept 2016), just under one year old, mint condition.  Cat not included. This is the most recent version of the Sweet 16 and has the thread tension information (so it’s not a guessing game).  Does not have a stitch regulator, but it can easily be added (consult with your local Handiquilter dealer). Contact Sarah here, sarahannsmith.com/contact.php

Straight on view of HQ Sweet Sixteen for sale. Use the contact me page at SarahAnnSmith.com for more info.

Straight on view of HQ Sweet Sixteen for sale. Leave a comment or use the contact me page at SarahAnnSmith.com if you are seriously interested and have questions.  More pictures at end of blogpost.

Here are three quilts I have quilted on this beauty, so you can see the quality of the stitching:

Umbelliferous: Queen Anne's Lace No. 1, quilted on the Sweet Sixteen sit-down machine for sale.

Umbelliferous: Queen Anne’s Lace No. 1, quilted on the Sweet Sixteen sit-down machine for sale.

Detail showing quality of stitching, Umbelliferous: Queen Anne's Lace No. 1, (c) Sarah Ann Smith.com

Detail showing quality of stitching, Umbelliferous: Queen Anne’s Lace No. 1, (c) Sarah Ann Smith.com

My most recent project, Peony, done on the Sweet 16. ©SarahAnnSmith.com

Milkweed No. 1, ©SarahAnnSmith.com. Quilted on the Sweet 16 that is for sale.

Milkweed No. 1, ©SarahAnnSmith.com. Quilted on the Sweet 16 that is for sale.

My most recent

My most recent work, Peony, quilted on the Sweet 16.  ©SarahAnnSmith.com

Working on the lighter petals on the big peony quilt. It will finish about 45x55 I think.....depends on how much I trim off and/or turn to the back.

Working on the lighter petals on the big peony quilt. It will finish about 45×55 I think…..depends on how much I trim off and/or turn to the back.

Side view

Side view.

HQ Sweet Sixteen, less than a year old, for sale! Contact Sarah at the Contact Me page or comment on this post.