Archive for October, 2011

Seminole Piecing Workshop

October 29, 2011

I took a Seminole piecing workshop last month from Priscilla Kibbee and thoroughly enjoyed the day.  I called ahead of time to reserve a Bernina sewing machine so I wouldn’t have to lug mine from home.  It most likely would have been a better idea  to bring mine, as it took me a bit to learn how to use the machine, but once I got the hang of it, I was able to catch up with the class. 

We started out with a basic pattern:

Do you notice something different?  There is a tiny line of metallic thread edging the squares.  Priscilla showed us how to accomplish this, and brought an entire plastic tub full of samples.  She made an entire coat for a wearable art show using this technique, and it was drop dead gorgeous.  That little bit of glitz makes the piecework sparkle as you move in the garment.  It must have looked fabulous on the runway with the light bouncing off the surface.

Our second pattern looked like hearts to me:

And our third pattern was a zig zag:

I was beat to my knees by the end of the class, and didn’t sew it there.  It was better that I tried it the next day at home, because I wanted to try using Clover’s bias tape instead of fabric strips for the design, and it worked out great.  It would be a lot less expensive using fabric though.  Those little packages of bias tape are pricey. 

Priscilla gave us the layout for a fourth design, but I didn’t make that one.  While I appreciate the look of Seminole work – and it’s not hard at all – I don’t like making samples with no project in mind.  I understand the technique, and like it, so the next time I do some Seminole piecing, and there will be a next time, it will be for a specific project.  I might use that last design, or I might not, but it was nice to be given 4 different patterns in the workshop, and information on where to find lots more.

By the way, I had brought silver metallic thread to use with my blue and purple fabric as they as cool based colors, and wanted to make a strip for a jacket border.  Guess what?  The silver metallic died on the fabric.  Seriously, it was YLI metallic thread so it was the same thickness and good quality, but it disappeared on the fabric.  It takes a LOT of sewing to add that metallic edge, and I was so disappointed when I saw how flat it was looking.  Priscilla told me the silver wouldn’t work, but doubting Thomas that I am, I had to try for myself.  She was RIGHT.  Even though my fabrics were cool based, the gold metallic worked much better.  If you’re reading this Priscilla, not only did you get a “You’re right!” in the class, you also got it in writing here on my blog.  LOL



Nancy Halpern at GVQC Meeting

October 28, 2011

Yesterday was GVQC’s meeting and our guest speaker was Nancy Halpern.  She is very well known for her architectural inspired quilts and her lecture was very interesting.  She has a great sense of humor too.

The meeting room was very dark so none of my pictures taken when her quilts were held up from the stage came out, but I was able to take some close-ups when they were laid out on tables.  The perspective is wonky, but the quilts were wonderful.  

I took pictures of quilts that would not automatically be identified as architectural quilts though, and this tree quilt was the first one:

Nancy is intrigued by puzzles and there are little letters on each of the blossoms that refer to a quote at the bottom of the quilt.

This next one has a water maze that creates a path to the center chair block:

Nancy loves visiting Venice, and the water maze reminds her of the canals.

I came away from the meeting with a deep respect for Nancy.  Not only is she a pioneer in architectural interpretations in her work, but everything she uses in her quilts has a personal connection – from her chickens, to a human figure being thrown out of a glass-making studio, to a piece of fabric, front and center in a piece, given to her by a dear friend who passed away.   She puts a tremendous amount of thought and technical experise into each of her pieces.  She is an amazingly talented fiber artist.


Round Tuit # 6 – Machine Knit Now Hand Knit Socks

October 21, 2011

Our home is a 3 bedroom home, but only the master bedroom has a bed in it.  One bedroom was my knitting studio with multiple knitting machines, a yarn tree, and a blocking table in it, and the other bedroom was my sewing studio.  Slowly but surely, both bedrooms are being used for sewing studios.  I’m down to one knitting machine – and that is in the closet – but still have an enormous inventory of yarn.  If I could move out some of the yarn, I’d actually be able to use my design wall again.  That is my goal for 2012. 

It is an extremely slow process.  I keep on getting diverted, and quite frankly will most likely never make a serious dent in my yarn collection, especially now that I’m using it to hand knit and am quite possibly the slowest hand knitter in the world. 

Case in point:

I started these socks over 5 years ago.  I know that because they were started on my 4.5mm knitting machine and that was sold over 5 years ago.  It’s my Penny Sock pattern that I give away here on my blog under Patterns,  so please enjoy knitting it.  It can be machine knit or hand knit.

Now that I’m concentrating on my Round Tuit projects, these socks floated to the surface.  Wouldn’t you know that I lost the hand knit lace pattern I was using for the instep?  Well, that took getting multiple pattern books out, and frogging 8 rows.  Frogging is a term knitters use when they have to rip out rows – rippit, rippit, rippit – the noise a frog makes??? 😉  Would you believe that took me a full day?  My age is showing.  I’d have figured it out in an hour years ago, BUT, I persisted, and finally figured out the pattern.  They will be my bring along hand knitting project when we travel in 2012, so you won’t be seeing a picture of the completed socks anytime soon.  LOL

It’s a beautiful rayon/merino wool blend yarn that I hand dyed, and the socks are being knit on size 1 circular needles.  That’s another reason why I’ll probably never use most of my yarn.  The biggest knitting needle I like using is a 2.  What can I say?  I like fine knits.  They drape beautifully, are the ultimate luxury, and flatter my figure.


Round Tuit # 5 – The 3 Year – 9 State Sweater

October 19, 2011

This story should properly be told sitting around a campfire, listening to the Davy Crockett theme song in the background.  After all, this sweater traveled a lot of the same paths that Davy Crockett walked.   Here is the saga of how a short-sleeve lace sweater turned into a 3 year, 9 state project.

This was started in 2009 in New York for our Florida vacation, but was not completed in time, so it was brought along as my hand knitting project.  It was worked on in Virginia, Georgia and Florida in 2010.  As soon as we arrived home, I promptly put it away thinking I’d pick it up in the fall, and complete it before our next snow bird vacation.

Well, we all know what happens to best intentions.  They never materialize.  It was packed in our little RV yet again, for our 2011 trip to Arizona as my hand knitting project.  This time it was worked on in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arkansas, Texas, and Arizona, and it still wasn’t completed when we arrived back home.  The difference this year was I did not put it away when we came back home.  It’s time had arrived.  Actually, it’s time to be completed was way overdue.  😉


This sweater is my own design The Bella Lace pattern and it’s the second time I’ve hand knit this – on size 2 knitting needles with a fine cotton thread.  I love this pattern.  It fits me well, and that’s why I keep on knitting it.


Round Tuit 4 – 3 T-shirts Altered

October 18, 2011

Lots of progress is being made on my Round Tuit list.  2 years ago we went on a vacation to Florida and I purchased 3 t-shirts.   It was our first vacation in 20+ years, and I bought all sorts of stuff I shouldn’t have – including these t-shirts.  The necklines on 2 of them were too high for my tastes, and all 3 of them were way too long.   I knew it when I purchased them, but I thought, I can sew.   I can fix them.   Did I?  No, they hung in my closet until I decided it was time to clean my closet this week and donate, alter, or make rags out of what I don’t wear.

I’m proud to say the 3 t-shirts are now altered.  Yeah for me!!! 

The neat thing about these t-shirts is now I really like them.  Hemming them was a piece of cake.  And I used a technique that I commonly incorporated with my knitted sweaters.  I short rowed the front.  Translated for sewers, that means I made the hem a 1/2 longer in the front.  That little bit of extra length allows room for my bosom – isn’t that a polite term? – and my tummy, so that my hem hangs evenly all around now. 

I totally removed the neckline on one of them and hemmed it, but didn’t stretch the front enough, so it has a bit of gaposis, but not bad.  I bent over and nothing is revealed, so nobody will be blinded from viewing my pulchritude.  

For the second neckline, I just turned over the ribbing and sewed it down – effectly halving the ribbing.  That little hem worked great, and it looks good too. 

I also finished another Comfort Quilt for my quilt club:

It didn’t take long to make it, and I hope whoever receives it will enjoy it.  Since the print fabric is pink tulips, it will most likely go to a little girl. 


Round Tuit # 3 Convergence Quilt

October 17, 2011

Ta Da!!!  I finished piecing the top of my first Convergence Quilt:

And here’s a close up of my piecing:

Let me tell you, I had no problems with the first 3 quadrants, but created a real mess with the 4th quadrant.   I turned the fabric and cut the strip widths the wrong size.  I lost my nice central reflection.    Since this had a horizontal and vertical mirror image, I had to take it apart.

I had only made 4 of the discharged bleach fabric designs, so had to try and recreate the curved design.  7 attempts later – I kid you not – 7 attempts, I settled for a close enough version.

What I learned?  Make an extra piece of whatever technique you are using.  It doesn’t hurt and you can always use it for the back of the quilt. 

Also, make sure you have enought fabric.  I was down to the last fat quarter of the black fabric I used to create the discharged design, and not all black fabrics discharge to the same color. 

Hopefully, I’m back to blogging regularly.  I’ve had more tests and biopsies to last me for a good long time. I’m actually cancelling yet another test and round of biopisies this week because I need to recover from what has been done to me over the past 2 weeks.   A 10 pound loss in 12 hours, followed by another 3 pounds the next day, followed by a humdinger of a cold and cough, and I honest to God don’t care to have anymore tests until I feel more like myself. 


RAFA October 2011 Meeting

October 7, 2011

Lots has been going on in my life which interferred with blogging, but I’m baaaack.  😉

Yesterday was our Rochester Area Fiber Arts meeting and Show and Tell was wonderful.  Janet made this gorgeous jacket:

And Julia embellished a jean jacket she purchased:

Sue made a really cute purse:

I really like that purse and will most likely be buying the pattern – especially since it comes in different sizes.  It is a Bella Nonna pattern, but I haven’t googled it to find out which one yet.

Donna hardly ever makes art quilts but she surprised us with one yesterday:

I’m thrilled the picture shows so much of the detail.  You can double click on the picture and it will enlarge for you so you can see it better.  There are lots of interesting bits and pieces on that art quilt.  She laminated some of the pieces, used a heat gun, plus used lots of other techniques that I didn’t catch.  Donna is fearless when it comes to working with fibers.

All the next pictures are from a felted fabric workshop.  I wish you could feel these pieces.  They are light and drapeable – not what you think of when you think of felted fabric. 

This is Barb’s:

And this is Val’s:

And this is what Anne made with her felted fabric:

Is that vest not drop dead gorgeous?  And how about the model?  Way to go Anne!!!