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Showing posts from January, 2013

Free Motion Butterfly

A Fine "Feathered" Friend On my current "to do" list is a new bed quilt for my husband and myself. When I design a quilt I try to choose symbols and motifs that have significance to the recipient, in this case, my husband and me. This ceramic butterfly has been with us since before we were married. It's image, in one form or another, will be the focal point of the quilt. The quilt will be whole cloth and free motion machine stitched. Right now I am auditioning different design concepts, and experimenting with different fabrics, threads and battings. The first sample shows my stitched interpretation of this butterfly using cotton sateen fabric on the top and bottom, with Heirloom Hobbs cotton batting. For all of these samples, I used a variety of very fine threads (#100). In all cases, the bobbin thread is "Superior Bottom Line". Here the top thread is a rayon machine embroidery thread . The next sample shows the same design using silk d

A "Notion" to Sew

The right tools are just as important for sewing as they are for any other job. Using the right tools can eliminate a lot of frustration and wasted time, as well as assure a better final result. Below are the basic notions that I find indispensable whenever I am at the machine. Left to right: small, sharp scissors;  tweezers;  stiletto;  seam ripper;  ruler with movable marker;  bone folder;  2 types of markers, depending on the job;  ruler for squaring up corners. The "General's Charcoal White" marking pencil is perfect for most surfaces. I especially like it for marking quilts; it creates a clearly visible, clean line with relative ease. (Not all chalk pencils are created equal!) I find that the "General's" pencil sharpens easily and doesn't break when sharpening, which many pencils do. Fabric shops are not the only place to find the right notions for sewing. Below is a set of potter's tools that I recently found at an art shop for un

Personalizing with Monograms

Hand stitched napkins made for my daughter and son-in-law's wedding in 2007. Dating back as far as the Egyptian hieroglyphics, initials, or monograms, have been used as a simple way to identify the maker of something or it's owner. Coins from ancient Greece held an imprint of the monogram of their rulers. During the construction of buildings in ancient times, the initials of either the master builder or the owner were often carved into the keystone of a building, or onto other prominent architectural features. An example of this can be seen at l'Abbey de Fontevraud in the Loire Valley in France, a retreat for women between the 11thC and 18thC , many of them aristocratic and wealthy, where two abbesses made certain their legacy would be remembered by leaving their crest and their initials on the tiled floor in areas of the abbey they had rebuilt. Louise de Bourbon (1530 - 60), Duchess of Montpensier, was an abbess at the Abbey de Fontvraud. Her aunt, Renee de B

New Year's Reboot/Refresh

Ah....!!! The ritual of the morning coffee. While I am on the yoga mat refining that "perfect"? posture, the ritual of preparing that perfect cup of coffee is underway in the kitchen. The likelihood of the coffee reaching that perfect state of zen is much greater then that of the yoga posture. After the energizing reboot/refresh of the morning ritual, there has been some progress to my ongoing projects. Stitching has been completed and the cording stage of the "calibri" (hummingbird) boutis piece has started. The hummingbird is slowly emerging. Progress on the whole cloth hand quilt, mentioned in my last blog, was quite limited during the holidays, however, in the last week, I have averaged just under 2 hours of hand quilting per day. Never having been a speedy hand quilter, it will take me a while to get the speed up again. These arches (most likely artichoke motifs) form the first of 3 rows in the border. Each motif , along with the adjacent