Hangin’ out and learning to post from my phone.
Happy New Year!
I have a new address!
Check it out for lots of new stuff including Free Project Tutorials!
A Huge Thank You to Pottstown Sewing
for generously donating 3 sewing machines in top shape to the Gallery School sewing room!!!
To think I felt nervous to ask… Ron and Barbara had 2 machines on the sales floor in mind for us. As we were gathering up the accessories Ron brought a 3rd machine fresh from the work bench. “We love to give back to the community” they are known to say often. And they do. They were awarded the Baby Lock President’s Award in 2009/2010 for community service.
Pottstown Sewing is a destination for quality sewing machines, sergers, computerized embroidery machines and software, quilting frames new and used. Also high quality notions, quilting supplies and tools, specialty threads, and a lot more. They even service machines, which is a must!
I’ve been fooling around with “thread painting” for quite some time. Thread Painting is simply embroidering using the sewing machine. It’s called thread painting because you fill in color with thread like you would with paint or a crayon. It’s completely controlled by the machine operator. A lot of machine embroidery today is computer generated. This is not.
How it’s done
Like free-style or free-motion sewing or quilting, the feed dogs are lowered on the machine. The stitch length is set to zero. A special foot, usually called a darning foot, is attached. It moves up and down with the needle allowing the operator to move the fabric in any direction. Imagine if you had a pencil being supported standing straight up while you move the paper under it to draw an image. And finally, setting the stitch width to zig zag helps fill in the spaces much better. Just remember to check that the needle will clear the darning foot before you put the pedal to the metal!
Thread Painting requires stabilizer and sometimes a hoop. If you skip these very important tools, your project will pucker up to half it’s size, will be lumpy and wrinkly and a waste of thread.
This stabilizer is water soluble Sulky Super Solvy. You can even draw guides on it with a Sharpie marker. It’s useful because when the embroidery is finished, I soak it in water until it dissolves away.
For Jewelry like the flower collar, I used tulle and a double layer of water soluble Super Solvy and a hoop. It still needed even more stabilizing. The water soluble is fabulous when you don’t want any material other than the tulle and thread to remain. This stabilizer is made of some kind of starch material. I just soak the embroidery in water until it dissolves away. Amazing stuff!
For projects that wont show the stabilizer, I like to use a heavier, iron on stabilizer that is more like paper. With this type of stabilizer, I don’t need a hoop and I can draw my design on it, if I want a guide. To make the edges clean and neat, I use and overcast foot and satin stitch the edges. This requires planning because if the piece is too small or curvy, it will be a mess!
Check out the Sulky website for lots of information and tips for using stabilizers.
It takes a lot of practice to get used to free-style sewing. You must remember to breath, relax your shoulders, and take frequent breaks to release tension in the body. It can be exhausting when just learning this technique.
Keep a look out for new listings at my Etsy Shop.
*Sketchbook Portfolios (photo above)
*Embroidered Jewelry and….
***I’m working on something special just for the Guys on your shopping list!***
Sewing Class News
Tessa’s “Rapunzel Costume” dress.
She just texted me with the photos this morning. She completed the finishing touches after our last Halloween Costume Class session ended.
My younger Princesses made matching costumes.
All three girls made princess dresses. They drew up the design, we made basic patterns, rolled up our sleeves and got to work. In four 2 hour sessions they learned to set a zipper, make puff sleeves, facing, made a sweetheart neckline, hems, a belt that fakes a fitted bodice, capes and a treat bag! All of the materials used were donated fabrics. The white satin was actually a roll used for a bride to walk down the aisle on!
Kids Sewing II is coming in the new year.
When scheduling is finished, I’ll post dates.
- A Pin Cushion: Because it’s high time these kids get the pins and needles under control! The kit will include pins and needles for use at home.
- Fleece Hat and Scarf with felt and embroidery floss embellishments.
- A Big Sleep Over Bag: Because kids need a lot of stuff at a sleep over! A pieced bag in a stripe design big enough to carry a sleeping bag, pillow and whatever they can stuff into it. It will have a long strap for slinging over the back and shoulder.
- Friendship Bracelets: a simpler form of embroidered jewelry using a snap closure.
4 Weeks, 2 hour sessions. And now we have 5 machines in good working order with decorative stitches!!!
Thank You Pottstown Sewing!
Shelf Elf SkyGirls
I had time to complete only 4 Shelf Elf SkyGirls. I love this idea of the Shelf Elf. In case you haven’t heard of this idea before: A shelf elf sits on the shelf or your Christmas mantle and keeps tabs on the kids behavior. When the kids are asleep, the shelf elf checks in with Santa to tell if the kids were naughty or nice that day.
Designing and Sewing
at The Gallery School went great! All of the girls decided to be a princess of some kind.
We started by coming up with a general idea of the design and made simple patterns. Then we raided the donated fabric stash and found some great satins to work with among other goodies.
We made dresses with princess puff sleeves, long dramatic bell sleeves, princess bodices, sashes, capes and treat bags.
It’s been a bit challenging using donated machines because only one is reliable. I spent a lot of time trouble shooting, tension adjusting, cleaning, and re-threading machines. Because each is different and range from a few years old to at least 30 years, the kids got confused with different ways of threading. Right now, this is what we have to work with.
The great part is that they don’t even get phased by the machine issues! They just love to sew! They were very proud of the work they completed and I must say that they really did do amazing work.
I’m planning for the next round of classes in January or February 2012.
A new batch of SkyGirls
There is so much to do for Christmas inventory! Monsters, Sketch Book with cover and handles (like the book bag), a quilt or two that needs finishing and my latest experiment: a kimono jacket. … among other things that will surely find a way into the shop.
We had our first kids sewing session this past summer. There were 5 girls signed up from the ages 8 to 14 years old. We struggled with donated sewing machines that were out of shape and out of date. I did my best to clean them up but they need to be replaced. I’m working on getting donations from a sewing machine dealer and maybe even maintenance. The Gallery School is a nonprofit organization so there isn’t any money for this investment.
We are halfway through the Halloween Costume Sewing session. This time there are 3 girls. So far they learned how to make a pattern, make a neck facing and sewed in a zipper. The next 2 weeks will be all about embellishing! All three are making a variation of a princess.
New to Thought Processes Series:
12” x 12”
As with all of the Thought Processes quilts, the background is patchwork of random fabrics, gold thread and yellow curved pieces. The flowers started out as red silk circles and then I “thread painted” using rayon and metallic threads.
There is much to do and I hope to be able to take some time off during the holidays- except for shipping orders, of course!
Thanks for stopping by!
Oh Boy! What a crazy few months I’ve just had! I haven’t been able to work at my usual level of activity and could just barely type. A recent MRI revealed that I have some arthritis in the C5, C6, and C7 discs. This has been causing all kinds of pain with overactive nerves through my neck, left shoulder, left arm and numbness in my left hand fingers. A combination of Physical Therapy over the past 4 months, exercise and relearning good posture are working.
The past week has been the best since spring! I’ve been finishing up several quilts that I’ve been trying to wrap up for quite a while:
The baby quilt below was a special order just delivered this week.
I’ve also been working on perfecting my fiber human figures for Craft Forms 2012. One of the biggest problems I’ve been facing is how to display them. Just yesterday I fabricated a base out of aluminum and some kind of pliable heavy gauge wire with a nice chrome finish. I’m still working on stability issues.
My Family Grew… A lot!
I don’t usually talk about family online usually but I have to share this lovely picture of my son, Bobby, his new wife Amanda and their son Dylan on their wedding day, September 10. I am so proud… and I could not have predicted how emotional I became. Tears of joy flowed aplenty!
The back story
Bobby was adopted as a baby by a loving couple because I was very young and not able to care for a child. I always missed him and thought about him frequently over these past 25 years. I never kept his existence a secret and hoped he would find me someday.
In this process patience and openness is key.
Bobby and Amanda got to work looking for me in the spring and contacted me on Mother’s day this year via Facebook (!). This has been a big part of the craziness in life. These past few months have been full of so many emotions from fear to elation. At times it was even paralyzing. I can’t begin to describe the shock and then the worry about how the discovery would work out. I had no worries about my 19 y.o. daughter; she could not wait to start a relationship! She waited her whole life to meet her big brother. I also have a 10 y.o. son who I was concerned about. He was very matter of fact about the news. Over the past few months he has enjoyed texting his big brother and taking his time with this. Of course there were their children to consider too. The baby is very laid back and is always easy with me. The little girl, age 7, seems to think this is a cool development. And, of course, the adoptive family. I met his mother a few weeks back and it was amazing. There is certainly a connection that runs deep between us. I met other family members, including his dad at the wedding. His dad had a wonderful reaction. He was warm and apologized for staring. He was taking in the resemblance between Bobby and me. That was amazing to hear. Bobby also has a little sister who I only spoke with for a few minutes that seems to be very sweet.
We’ve spent time together with our families several times and it’s been a patient process of getting to know each other. Bobby and his new little sister, Ari, have been growing especially close. I even got to babysit my grandbaby when they had their bachelor / bachelorette party!
So, not only did I reunite with my son, who I missed terribly, I gained a daughter in law, who I love to pieces. Incredibly, I have an amazing, adorable grandson and, a little girl, Amanda’s daughter, who is just as adorable and feisty suddenly in my life. There are still these sort of uncertainties of who I am and how I fit into things but over time, things will sort out. They asked me what the kids should call me and what grandma names are already being used. I’m still trying to figure that out.
This is a new path in the journey of my life that I thought might never happen. The only thing I can say is that I feel truly blessed and very thankful.
I didn’t mean to say so much on this topic but as I write it, I realize that I am embracing my truth and I would have loved to find this kind of a post when I was reeling with disbelief and uncertainty of the beginning days of this journey.
More pictures of work in progress and finished pieces to come soon!
Thanks for Visiting!
Happy Summer Solstice
New Quilts in Progress…
This quilt is in the binding phase now. I started out with the intention of a functional baby girl quilt but it seems more appropriate as a wall hanging. It would look great in a girl’s room or really anywhere in a light and happy home.
This quilt was inspired by the flower design. I made a stencil for this project. I have got to try out silk screening! That orange and blue gadget in the first picture has a rotating blade that allows very easy curve cutting. It’s Awesome! I found it in a clearance bin! It’s made by Fiscars. They call it a “shape cutter”. The dots are simply stamped with the end of a dowel that is lightly dipped into the fabric paint. You might be able to see the circle that I used as a guide in pencil. (Oh, after this sample, I taped all of my edges to avoid the mistake you see in the last pic.)
I used batiks I dyed last winter and I love how they really stand out with all the black and white. The quilting is simple: White rayon thread on white, black on black, and the details between the blocks and detailing the flowers is in silver metallic thread.
detail of quilting on the back of the quilt
My quilts are a breeze to hang!
Hanging this quilt, like most of my quilts, is so EASY! It has a split sleeve on the back to insert a rod or thin strip of wood or acrylic and can hang and be balanced on one hook, nail or screw on the wall. Or it can be hung traditionally or on a decorative curtain rod with wall brackets. (see picture of quilt back below)
Like my new signature?
This quilt is perfect for custom made! I can do any motif you like! Contact me for more information or questions!
I’ve been working with circles a lot lately. I use a wonderful technique that involves freezer paper to get the perfect inset circles as opposed to applique (the shape sewn on top of the fabric).
I started hand stitching around the circles and pulled a lot of thread out because it was just boring. Then I had the idea to make stencils out of freezer paper and rub gold Shiva oil stick paint ( Dharma.com ) with a stencil brush.
And the quilting was a sudden inspiration. I just went with it and that’s how it turned into the idea of the constellation of Pisces… if that exists. It’s done with silver metallic thread.
The size is approximately 24” x 9”.
Detail of Pisces Constellations above and Split Sleeve below
New things at the Gallery on High
These are paintings that have been matted and are showing at the “Birds, Bees, Butterflies and Bridges” themed show running through the summer.
All are for sale through the Gallery on High.
Also, you can find new SkyGirl Dolls©, Tote bags, hand bags, little girl handbags, book bags by me and loads of fabulous art by other local artists in Glass, Ceramic, Paintings, Photography, Jewelry, Up-cycled Art and more!