Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rust Dyeing

Yesterday I tried rust dyeing for the first time.


I soaked a fat quarter size piece of fabric in a solution of half water/half vinegar, just to dampen it, and then loosely wrapped it around some old, clean, rusty items. The whole thing was placed in a bag, just so it would remain moist, but the bag was open a bit, because it needed oxygen to work. I turned the bag over a few times during the day.


This morning it looked like this (about 18hours) - the fabric was a piece that already had some holes, and I was worried that the rust would cause more holes. It turned out fine and I could have left it longer.


The results look like an old rag used to wipe the garage floor, but it has some really interesting spots -


each side of the fabric is different -


same with this area -


Next time I would tightly wrap the fabric around the rusty item.
It is nice to try something new and this one was pretty easy. It will be good for an art quilt.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

February Art Quilt of the Month


This is my February Art Quilt of the Month. It is 6" x 8". I chose hearts because my husband and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary this month.


I had fun trying different embroidery techniques for the hearts. The top heart is surrounded by french knots and seed beads, the white heart is pulled thread on linen.


I used a wooden heart as a template to draw around.


The outline for the heart is traditional Schwalm Embroidery stitches - a coral stitch, with a chain stitch on both sides. I used Watercolors by Caron for the stitching, instead of the traditional white matte cotton thread (Schwalm is also traditionally stitched on much finer linen).


I used the same wooden heart for the outline of the other heart. The fabric is my snow dyed fabric - I love the colours of this piece.

I used 100Wt Invisafil thread for the free motion quilting.


Here are my art quilts of the month so far (my plan is to bind them together in to a book at the end of the year).

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 18, 2013

February Pieces of Time Blocks

I finished this month's Pieces of Time quilt blocks.


I wasn't going to make the appliqué block because I thought it would be too difficult for freezer paper, invisible machine appliqué, but after a bit of pushing, and name calling ;-), from Joan (Joan at Leschenault), I got it made. Thanks for the push Joan, I am so pleased that I made it! See her block here.

You might realize that I am a huge fan of Craftsy classes, well, I signed up for the free Perfect Pizza at Home class.


This is the first pizza I have made since watching the class. It was absolutely delicious! The taste and texture of the crust was similar to a wood fired oven pizza. It was definitely the best pizza to have come out of my oven, and not hard to make (the dough is made the day before, and can sit in the fridge for up to 3 days, or be frozen). This was the Neapolitan Pizza Dough recipe, cooked on a pizza stone.
The instructor, Peter Reinhart, covers a few different types of pizza, there is even a gluten free recipe.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Winner Is..

Thank-you to every one that entered my Spreading Love Giveaway - there were lots of heartwarming stories.


My son picked a number, and the winner of the little wallhanging is Karen (For the Love of Needle and Thread).
She told the story of a Random Act of Kindness that happened to her -

I was the recipient of a RAK once when I was leaving a doctor's office. The parking lot had one of those toll booths where you had to drop in the coin to get the lever to go up and I dropped the coin and didn't have any more. I was so upset from seeing the doctor and then this happened. Well I had a long line of cars waiting behind me to get out and a wonderful lady came up and gave me a coin. It was a small act that meant the world to me at the moment.

Congratulations Karen!

This week I have been trying to work on some "of the Month" projects I have for February.


The first is my Art Quilt of the Month. I have been doing embroidery for this one - I tried some Pulled Thread embroidery. It is on a piece of my snow dyed fabric - seemed appropriate since there is still so much snow.


This one is for a BOM that I am participating in with a local quilt group. The first block was one of our choosing, and so I tried a Lone Star since I have never made one before. The block is a 24",  and as you can see I had a few difficulties with it - I am hoping it will all work out in the quilting!
For this BOM a block pattern or idea will be chosen every month. We decide which style of quilt we will make - mine will be a random/scrappy style with different size blocks - I think it might be called Orphan Block Quilt (although the blocks won't be Orphans, so I am not sure of the name). My colour palette will be cream/red/pink/beige/caramel.

I still have the Pieces of Time blocks to make for February.


The gray partridges were enjoying the sunshine yesterday.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Spreading Love Giveaway

Today is my 24th wedding anniversary, Valentine's Day is coming up, and it is also Random Acts of Kindness Week. It definitely seems like a week all about loving one another.


I made this little wallhanging/table mat with a stylized feather heart, it is about 12" square. If you would like a chance at winning it just leave a comment on this post - telling me a bit about your self, or some RAK that you experienced, or tell me about someone you love, or special plans you have this week......


Some details about the piece - I used 100Wt Invisafil thread on top, 50Wt Aurifil in the bobbin, with a #80 Microtex needle for the free motion quilting (the fabric is a tightly woven, shiny cotton, that was difficult to stitch. The Microtex needle is very sharp, and worked well). The batting is one layer of cotton on the bottom with a half layer of wool on the top. The beads are #11 seed beads, I used size B Nymo thread for the first time, I like it - it was smooth and didn't kink, plus it comes in different colours (I bought it here). The piece of lace is from my sister.

Also I did most of the quilting and beading this weekend while Skypeing with some of my best friends - there is a group of 4 of us in different parts of the world that get together just about every weekend to quilt - such fun!


I have been wanting to have a giveaway for a while because I have past some blogging milestones - four years of blogging, over half a million views on my blog, and over 600 followers! I remember when I got my first follower - I was so excited! As it turned out, that was Wendy (Inky Threads), who has become one of my dearest friends - thanks Wendy!
So if you are a follower just leave me another comment for another chance to win.

BTW it was my twin bother and his wife's 23rd wedding anniversary yesterday - Happy Anniversary to them!

I'll make the draw on Friday the 15th of February. Thanks to all that entered! The winner was Karen (For the Love of Needle and Thread) - Congratulations!

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for making blogging such a joyful experience for me! Have a great day!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Log Cabin and Hardanger

I finished piecing a log cabin quilt top.


The blocks are 7", and I chose an off set barn raising layout for them. The quilt top is about 91" square. I used Judy Martin's technique to make the blocks, and it was so easy to piece.

Have you noticed that many people have been making log cabins lately? Barb (Fun with Barb) just finished a lovely one - shown here, and Kathie (Inspired by Antique Quilts) is working on one with 4" blocks that is going to be fantastic.

Fons and Porters has a free E-book on log cabins that is really nice - you download a copy here.


I added a copy to my IPad for easy reading (in iTunes add it to the library from your download file, it goes into PDF's in iBooks - I was only recently shown this feature and love it. I bought Cindy Needham's handbooks and you can enlarge the pictures to see all the details).


I have also been working on a piece of Hardanger that I have had on the go for about 7 years (it is 18" x 29"). I am determined to finish it this year!


Just the cut work sections left.

Come back tomorrow for a giveaway.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Romanian Point Lace and the Kindness of a Stranger

I mentioned before how my Beginner Romanian Point Lace Tutorial is the most popular post on my blog.
It has brought lots of positive feed back, but it also opened up a door for one person to criticize my work, and me, publicly. I don't respond to her, because that is a ring I choose not to enter.
I found out this week that someone called her out on her behavior.
I want to publicly thank fibre artist Elena (Fiber Art etc.), for standing up for me on a Ravelry Romanian Point Lace forum.
It is very easy to criticize some one. It takes courage to stand up for some one, especially a stranger. Thank-you so much Elena! Your kind words are very appreciated.

Since I can't have a post without pictures, I thought I would add photos of my four Romanian Point Lace creations,

the largest is 60cm/24" across
and how they are displayed in my home - 





Thanks for stopping by, and remember we should be one another's cheerleaders! Have a great day!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Falling Water Quilt


My Mother made this lovely quilt, called Falling Water - Texas Rain Dance (she bought the kit here). It is 62" x 82".


I did all the free motion quilting. There are meandering feathers down the background sections - they are my favourite Bump-Bump Feathers. There are also Open Heart Feathers down the blue squares, and Continuous Curve Quilting in the green triangles and beige squares.
The quilting was done with a few different threads from my Mom - Aurifil 50Wt, Bottom Line 60Wt, and Essential 50Wt thread. It was the first time I tried the Essential thread. It sewed beautifully, although it was a bit lintier and also thicker than the Aurifil. I also used a few different needles (#80 Titanium and Microtex) since they kept breaking - there were some pretty thick seams on this pattern. The batting is Hobbs Tuscany Silk - the best batting for machine quilting on a domestic sewing machine in my opinion, it is so light and "scrunchable".

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Intermediate Romanian Point Lace Tutorial


It has been two and a half years since I posted my Beginner Romanian Point Lace Tutorial, and due to the amazing response (thank-you!) I thought it was time for an Intermediate Tutorial.


The beginner tutorial covered getting the foundation pattern ready, making the basic braid/cord, stitching the cord to the pattern, and some filling stitches. For this tutorial I assume you have tried my beginner tutorial (or have some experience with Romanian Point Lace), and I won't cover those topics in detail here.
In this tutorial I will cover making a more decorative braid/cord and making decorative rings, as well as some different filling stitches. I will also talk about some variations you could make to the pattern.

Since this post is long, if you are going to print it out there is a little Print Friendly Button at the end of the post, that if you click will turn the post into a PDF, and you can then delete paragraphs and photos that you don't need.

Once again - I don't claim to be an expert at Romanian Point Lace, this is just how I do it. I taught myself from older European magazines.





I used 1 ball of DMC Cébélia #10 for this 11"/28cm doily. Any good quality crotchet cotton works. I like Cébélia because it is so smooth.


print on a 8.8"x11" piece of paper


This is one third of the pattern. Trace the pattern three times, using the dotted lines as a guide.

As in the previous RPL Tutorial, the pattern is copied onto a piece of plain cotton and then covered with a sticky clear plastic film (MacTac etc) - this makes the foundation pattern for the work. The pattern is the reverse of the finished piece.

work in progress

Tip

I know some people avoid the clear plastic film step, but the reason for it is that the foundation pattern needs to be quite firm, so that the needle weaving doesn't pull, and end up misshaping the final piece. Also with the plastic you don't accidentally stitch through the pattern. I have seen people use a hoop or frame for RPL, this would help keep the foundation pattern firm.



Once the foundation pattern is ready, crochet the braid lengths needed and tack them to the pattern, using regular sewing thread in a contrasting colour - this will be removed at the end. 

I used about 17"/44cm of braid for each leaf, and about 22"/56cm for each flower. As well as some small pieces of braid as shown on the pattern.


I made a separate piece of braid for the centre of the flower, but you could use a continuous piece for the whole flower. I like to leave long tails on my braid since all the stitching and filling stitches are done with them, and it saves me having to add a new piece of cotton (that is the reason for the little bundles on my piece).

Stitch all the pieces of braid that touch together, using the little loops on the side of the braid. All the stitching is done with the #10 cotton. This is all covered in the Beginner Tutorial.


There are a few pieces of decorative braid on the doily, just for variety, they could be plain braid if you want. The sections with decorative braid are shown as the parallel lines with little lines sticking out on the pattern.


Decorative Braid -


The decorative braid begins with a chain of 3 stitches.


Into the second chain make 1 Double Crochet (DC), and then 3 DC into the first chain.


Make one chain,


turn the work (flip it over, same as the plain braid).


Make 1DC into first DC,


and then 3DC into second DC.


One chain, then turn the work. Repeat.


Here is the written pattern for the decorative braid -


Work 1 double crochet into the 2nd of 3 chain, 3dc into the 1st chain,
*make 1 turning chain (turn work), work 1dc into the 1st dc, 3dc onto the 2nd dc*
repeat *-* as required.

Update 3rd Feb, 2013 - Apparently these are UK terms, and DC is Single Crochet in US terms. 


You can work filling stitches before you have added all the braid to the foundation pattern -


Remember this is the back of the work and to travel through the bars on the braid to begin and end thread, and to move from one area to the next.

Decorative Rings -


These start with a loop of thread as shown in the above picture (sorry I can't really explain it, I follow a picture every time too).



Crochet DC around the loop. The DC will be over two strands of cotton of the loop


Make 20DC around the loop (you might need to try this more than once to get the hang of making these decorative circles - I know I did! But it does work. The trick is not making the loop too big and making all the stitches even).


Carefully pull the tail to bring the circle together.



Take a little stitch to join the circle together (sorry I don't know the crochet term).


Work another round of DC around the circle, but add a couple of extra stitches (about 3DC) as you go so the circle lays flat.


Finish the circle with a stitch joining the round and then cut, and pull the end of the thread through.
You need 3 circles this size,

3 rounds of DC for centre - this is the front of the piece
plus one for the centre that has another round of DC to make it bigger (remember to add a few extra stitches).


Tack them to the foundation, making sure that the wrong side is facing up. I line up the tail with one of the wrapped bar lines so that it is ready for stitching.

Wrapped Bars - 

These were covered in the beginning tutorial in the Spider Web variation #1 section.


The lines on the pattern are for placement of wrapped bars. They are made by stitching through a loop on the side of the braid at either end of the line - from one side to the other and back to the starting position - this creates two strands that are wrapped. Since there are no loops on the decorative braid or the decorative circle, just stitch through the edge.


Stitch all the wrapped bars around the circle. Since this is the back of the work, carefully travel through the back of the braid and circle.


For wrapped bars that cross each other - work the first bar, and for the next bar lay one thread below the first bar and one thread on top of the first bar.


Wrap the second bar like normal, and when you get to the join just pass over the top and continue wrapping the other side of the bar. Make sure to keep the wraps snug against each other, so that the work is nice and firm.

Spider Web - 

Since this was covered in the beginner tutorial, I will go through the steps quickly.


Make a stitch with sewing thread in the centre of the spider web.


This acts as anchor for the bars of the web.


Lay all the threads down around the circle (there needs to be an odd number of bars for this web).


Wrap 4 of the bars like normal.


For the fifth bar just travel from the edge and start weaving the web in the centre,


under and over the bars until the centre is the size you want. Notice the 3 threads for the fifth bar.


Wrap the fifth bar, pulling the wraps tightly so that it comes out close to the same size as the other bars. I usually choose to have the fifth bar the shortest bar.

finished spider web

Buttonhole Filler Stitch -


I chose an easy filler for half of the leaf, there are many other variations you could use too.


This photo is from "Needle-Made Laces and Net Embroideries" by Doris Campbell Preston, and shows how the stitch is made.


When I stitched this one I came up in the second loop from the previous row of stitching, and started the next row down in the next loop.
In the pictures you can see that I originally planned on having wrapped bars in the whole leaf, but thought a different filler would be better. The whole leaf could have different fillers on both sides instead of wrapped bars.



the flower is ready for filling
Petal Filler Design - 

I liked the Petal design in the beginning tutorial so much, that I just did a variation of it for this doily.

I used about a 6'/180cm length of cotton for each petal so that I wouldn't have to join a new thread in the middle.


Start by laying a pair of threads across the base of the petal.


Wrap pairs of bars across the petal. Start by finding the centre of the petal and counting over 11 loops in the side of the braid - start in that loop, and stitch in every second loop until there are 12 pairs of thread.


Weave under and over two pairs of bars at a time (see above photo).


Use the side of the needle and your finger nail to push the weaving close together.


Continue weaving across 12 pairs of bars for a small section, 


then 10, then 8,6,4 and 2, until you reach the top, just like in the beginning tutorial.


To finish the end of the thread weave it in the back of the woven petal.


Carefully hold the thread at the top when pulling the thread so that it doesn't pull the point down.

Woven Centre -


This is made by laying threads - up one loop, down the next and across the circle,


until the circle is filled.


Repeat the process at right angles to the other threads, weaving them across,


until the circle is filled.

Instead of a braid circle with a woven centre, you could make a large decorative circle for the centre of the flower - attach the decorative circle to the foundation pattern before adding the braid for the petals.


Once all the needle weaving is complete, it is ready to be removed from the foundation pattern.


Use a stitch ripper on the back of the pattern to cut the tacking stitches, so that you don't accidentally cut any of the braid or needle weaving.


It is exciting to finally see the front of the piece. Wash and block the finished piece. If it needs ironing, press on the wrong side with the piece laying on a thick towel. I just let this type of lace dry flat and it doesn't usually need any pressing. After washing, my piece is about 11"/ 28cm.

The wonderful thing about Romanian Point Lace is that you can easily make changes to any pattern to make the piece "your own". You can enlarge or reduce a pattern slightly. If you enlarge a pattern you might need to add more wrapped bars, and make other adjustments. If you reduce the pattern consider using a thinner thread, #20 or even #30. You can also use different size threads in one project (I chose to use one size in my tutorials to keep things simple). You can change the filling stitches to the ones you want to try - the web is a wonderful resource for needle weaving stitches, and there are many embroidery books that cover needle weaving. Use different patterns for the braid..... Have fun!

If you have any questions or need any help with this pattern, please don't hesitate to email me (email link found here).

This pattern is my original design. Remember copyright laws -  don't sell the pattern or claim this pattern as your own, do not use it or items made with it for commercial purposes, or post the pattern or pictures elsewhere. Thank-you!