Archive for the ‘techniques’ Category

Having gotten out of the habit of frequent blogging, I’m finding it hard to get back into it. I’ve shown you the work-in-progress on Beau’s bag.  It’s finished and I’ve mailed it off to Vashon Island–the bag with the Kate Greenaway book inside. It just fits. Here you can see the front and the back. I stitched the CQ blocks to a ready-made canvas bag. The front has alphabet letters and critters on the patches. The back has numerals and flora motifs. On both sides I included shisha, thinking Beau would get a kick out of the tiny mirrors.

Front Back


Now I’m working on a sampler–just something to keep me stitching, as I’m still finding it hard to do so every day. Here’s Guilloche stitch for the border. It’s funny how putting a border on it makes the sampler feel more important–worth trying to do it well.


Counting threads is not my favorite stitching technique, but I like the even stitches it produces. This sampler is on Aida evenweave fabric.

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Though I’ve done quite a bit of crazy quilting, piecing blocks for embellishment, it is still hard for me to do by machine.  I know how much faster it would be if I used the sewing machine. So I decided to try piecing the bag for Beau on the machine. I was following directions for what was supposedly the easiest method. First, I designed a pattern. There’s a Kate Greenaway little girl on the central patch.


Well, I spent most of the afternoon yesterday trying to match the patches on the foundation fabric. It just wasn’t working. In the end, I gave up and went to my preferred method of hand basting the patches. After basting them, I stitched the seams with invisible stitching. Here’s the result.


This morning, I looked at my work and realized that I had made a mistake. I pieced the blue patch on the right over the light tan (#3) patch below the central patch. So today I unstitched three patches and corrected my mistake. Now it looks like this.


I’ve started stitching the little girl with split stitch using a single strand of DMC floss.

And I’m trying to get myself back into the habit of blogging. So even though I don’t have much to show, I’m writing anyhow.

From month to month I can’t see any improvement in my health, but looking back six months, when I was in Shepherd Pratt Hospital, I’m very much better now.




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Having finished the embellishment of my CQJP 2014 quilt and having joined all the seams, I’m now waiting for an opportunity to shop for fabric for border(s) and back. Here’s the quilt so far. It’s tacked to my design board.



For weeks I’ve been thinking about what I want to do next. This past week I’ve been asking myself what do I want to do. Today I got out a pile of fabrics and chose some for a crazy quilt block. I was also online looking for a pattern I could crib, rather than make one myself. I chose Sharon Boggon’s pattern for Block 82   of her” I dropped the buttonbox quilt.” Do click on the link to see her work.Here’s the pattern I printed from Sharon’s website. For my block, I enlarged patch #7.


Then I reviewed a method of piecing using a pattern that I have done in the past. I slightly modified Sharon’s pattern so that I could have a large patch of a particular fabric, then transferred the pattern to foundation fabric. Here’s how the back of the block looks. As you can see, #7 patch is on the left.


Because it would take time to set up my sewing machine, and because any mistakes done in machine stitching would be harder to take out, I stitched the patches by hand. Also, I prefer to stitch by hand rather than by machine, and that means I have not become proficient with the sewing machine. The stitching is easily done from the back of the block where I just stitch over the pattern lines. Here’s the front of the block.


Well, I surprised myself today. I had no plan to make anything and it just happened that I did. I wonder what will be next as I try to get myself back into regular, joyful stitching…and blogging. So far, I’m having to make myself do it.



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Taking seriously my friend Neki’s jesting comment on yesterday’s post, I fiddled some more and then painted my muslin gauged pineapple. It’s far from the picture I was trying to replicate, but I went ahead and appliquéd it anyway.

It’s all practice and it’s work therapy.

I don’t want to appliqué a pineapple. I want to learn ways of creating dimension and texture in appliqué. And I want to get better at it before I work on my project.

Tomorrow I’ll try another technique.

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So, for my project, I am attempting to learn some new techniques. Yesterday I wrote about working on appliqué, and especially on dimensional appliqué. In Elly Sienkiewicz’s book, Papercuts and Plenty (Baltimore Beauties and Beyond: Studies in Classic Album Quilt Applique,

I learned about gauging. Gauging is a patterned gathering that reduces a piece of fabric to a smaller size. It is used to create texture. In this picture of a Baltimore album quilt block shown in Elly’s book, you can see a pineapple shaped by gauging.

I decided to try it with a piece of muslin. After creating a freezer paper template in the shape of the pineapple, you cut out a much larger pineapple shape from the fabric and draw on it a grid, like this:

Then you running stitch the lines of the grid and pull the ends of the threads to gather the fabric until it is the size of the template, like this:

After ironing the seam allowance to the freezer paper template, you’re ready to appliqué the pineapple to the block.

Well, here’s what my first attempt at gauging looks like: I have pulled the ends of the threads to gather the muslin.

Talk about fiddly work! I spent hours on this enterprise. After doing the best I could to get something like the patterned gathers of the pictured pineapple shaped over the template, this is the result.

Doesn’t look much like a pineapple, does it? I haven’t even bothered to iron it to the template. Obviously, this technique is going to take a lot more practice.

During the past three weeks, my husband has had a series of seizures that have rendered him dependent upon a full-time aide and a wheelchair. He can no longer talk on the phone with me.

All this–stitching and blogging, is therapy. Maybe that’s all it is. Gotta get back to work.

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