Category Archives: design process

Thread Painting and Sewing Class News

 

 

Pottstown Sewing Store

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!

Thread Painting?

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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.

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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!

About Stabilizer:

 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.

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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!accessories 201108

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.

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Keep a look out for new listings at my Etsy Shop.

*Sketchbook Portfolios (photo above)

*SkyGirl Dolls

*Embroidered Jewelry  and….

***I’m working on something special just for the Guys on your shopping list!***

 

 

Sewing Class News

at The Gallery School of Pottstown

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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.

IMAG0526All 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!

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Kids Sewing II is coming in the new year.

When scheduling is finished, I’ll post dates.

Projects:

  • 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!

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Summer is here!!!

Happy Summer Solstice

New Quilts in Progress…

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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.

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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.

The size is approximately 36” x 36”.  stencil-flower-12

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)

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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!

 

Pisces Constellations

Constellations of the zodiac exist, right?pisces-1

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”.

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Detail of Pisces Constellations above and Split Sleeve below

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New things at the Gallery on High

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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!Sew-4-Ever!

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SkyGirl for Audrianna

There is a little girl in OK who is patiently awaiting her very own SkyGirl.   Audrianna suffers from a rare syndrome called Prader-Willi Syndrome. Her mom tells me she’s a doll collector and I wanted to send her one just because I can. sg-design-2

The orangey doll is showing her back with the stamped heart with wings design. Inside the heart I used a sharpie to write:

SkyGirl, the doll’s name, and year. I also signed the doll.

On her chest is a red glittery heart.

I made several dresses today because I couldn’t decide on the fabrics I wanted to use. It occurred to me that I could sell extra dresses separately! I’d have to figure out the cost but it would certainly be rather inexpensive.

The other idea I had, which I need to look into further, is to donate dolls to Children’s Hospitals. Particularly St. Christopher’s in Phila. because I was a patient there when I was 6 years old. Now, I don’t think I could supply hundreds… But what if it was a “you buy one, I’ll donate one” kind of deal? Or gather members of Philly Handmade to pool together on this idea? It needs some more thought and brainstorming. But this would be a great community gift.

While working on her doll, and some others, I had the idea of making a stamp label! 

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I just use a cheap Speedball stamp carver I picked up at Michael’s Craft’s store for about $5.  I got the carving materials you see here at Dick Blick.  It’s a very soft material that reminds me of an eraser.  Carves like butta!  From one of the small cut-away pieces, I made a tiny heart with SG in the center.  

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Stamp carving is one of those things I adore doing.  It’s just fabulous to have your very own originals for fabric design and now as a face template and the base for labels for my dolls.

The past week was way long and I didn’t get a lot of work done.   Today I am recharged and it feels great to be back in the studio!

Have a great week!!

Sew-4-Ever!

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New SkyGirls!

New dolls listed in the

Quilt & Fiber Arts Shop

12-inch-SkyGirls

My goal with these 12 inch dolls was to come up with a design that is easier and faster to produce so that the cost could be more accessible to everyone. 

The dolls have all of the basic  characteristics of the original dolls.

 

 

Kimmy-2The dolls faces are still  hand painted but I carved a stamp to help speed up the process.

 

 

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It looks a little creepy…  but it works!

 

 

 

Ann-Marie-1The Hair is the same too.  It’s secure and done up with bows.  It’s long but it’s easily cut if you like it shorter.

 

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The dresses are a new original design in a sweet bell shape with heirloom embroidery by sewing machine, buttons and black and white trim, bows, and vintage fabrics depending on the doll. 

And of course, a doll can be custom ordered with your favorite colors and characteristics important to you!  See Custom Made!

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Fiber Sculpture: Another Leap part 2

What am I going to do with this thing?bzuazua-Leap-15

The threads are dry and now it’s time to remove it from the form.

The process of cutting away the molded threads from the form.

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The molded fibers held together very well!  It kept it’s shape wonderfully.

Next, I stitched all of the cutting closed. 

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Now What?  I’m still thinking about it. 

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I made a second figure, as you can see.   I’m getting a Cirque du Soleil vibe with this.  I need to figure outa mount still too.

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Another Leap

bzuazua-Leap-3This is a fiber adventure I’ve been wanting to try for quite a while:  Sculpting a human form in the midst of joy and freedom!  In this case, I’m following the Leap! idea again. 

I first read about making fabric out of discarded threads and miscellaneous fibers in Quilting Arts Magazine a few years ago.  That method used starch to keep the form.  After trying it out I moved onto glue because it keeps it shape permanently. 

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The bowl above is one of the first fiber bowls I made back in 2008.  It’s loaded with beading and wire supports. The woman who purchased this bowl is a bit of an eccentric artist and uses it as a hat for formal functions.  Yes, I’m serious!  Love it!

A post card from The Wayne Art Center announcing a call for entries for Craft Forms 2011 came in the mail  a week ago and the idea was revived.  This idea is perfect for that juried show and my thread clippings bucket was full!

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For this application, I didn’t want to make a fabric.  I wanted the whole form to be only fibers.  So I approached the project like paper mache, except with thread.  What a mess!

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It took a while to get the hang of wrapping and gluing, keeping the threads on the form and off of my fingers.

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Securing the threads further. 

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All done for now.  It has to dry and then I can remove the fiber form from the wood model.  Think of it like surgery!

As I was working, gravity gave me an idea.  I like the way the threads look hanging from the form during the wrapping.  I intend to mount the form in a falling position, like a sky diver before he pulls the parachute cord.  I will try mounting the form upside down and attaching more threads so that when it’s in it’s proper orientation, it will give the illusion of wind blowing the threads up as bzuazua-Leap-8the form is falling.

I’m so excited to see how this goes!

Let me know what you think!

XO!

Sew-4-Ever!

By the way,  I have one fiber bowl decorated for Easter at my shop!Fiber Bowl for Easter

A Holograph Quilt?

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I read about Holograph Quilts by Wen Redmond at the Quilting Arts Magazine website while looking for interesting and easy workshop ideas for the Summer Session at the Gallery School of Pottstown, PA.

The photographed image of a railroad tie with pebbles embedded in a crack looks blurry but it’s because the effect is hard to capture in a photo.  The trick is printing an image on paper backed organza (a light transparent fabric) and iron on transfer paper, which is then ironed onto heavy cut away stabilizer.  The organza is layered over the ironed on image so it’s a double image.  Seeing through the organza to the solid layer creates the effect of a holograph!  Meaning, the illusion of depth is created.  This is way cool!

The steps:bzuazua-pebbles1

I gathered supplies here you see: the hand dyed batik fabric, the image as a whole and the cut up image. I printed the organza and transfer paper 24 hours earlier, which is recommended for the organza.

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Here you see that I’ve sewn the organza image pieces to strips of fabric. Organza is not a fun fabric to work with.  It wants to fray and distort.  Be very gentle.

At this point I was thinking about some surface design because if I messed up, I still hadn’t attached my borders.  I just got 4 new Shiva Sticks for my birthday (from me!) from Dharma Trading– I ordered the organza from them too.  So, I’ve always wanted to get these oil sticks and they are a dream!!!  So soft and vivid and very metallic.  I just made little circles and blended them with a stiff brush and heat set with a press cloth and hot iron.

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Now, I deviated from Wen’s instructions in the article.  Instead I ironed the transfer onto one large sheet of heavy cut away stabilizer after marking the photo placement very carefully and ironed on the images.  When I placed the organza images over the solid image….. MAGIC!  Wow, it really works!

So after pinning in place all over, I started some free style quilting.  Because I used a large piece of heavy stabilizer, I don’t need a hoop!  Cool, huh?

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Here, you see some quilting motifs going on.  The circles are gold metallic thread.  You can barely see the branches I stitched in brown.  I’m thinking I might use the blender iridescent Shiva stick to highlight…  ?  Dunno.  Ideas welcome!

I was thinking I might add some natural elements like some twigs and outside findings.  The image is a very close up of a railroad tie with pebbles embedded in the crack.

Thanks for reading!

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