Thursday, October 29, 2009

Design Wall Completed!

The design wall is completed and I can't wait to use it.
We began today by laying the flannel out and ironing it flat on the floor. Then the panel with the slat support was laid face down on it. Out came the staple gun--another tool-- and each side was stapled in place on the wood slats. On the bottom corners I cut out a bit of the corner to eliminate the bulk. I cut about a 3 inch square bit out. We added felt pads, as bumper guards, at the bottom corners and across the center slat.
The upper corners posed a small problem, as we could not staple them like the bottom ones because of the hanger cleat. So I decided to just roll and tuck the flannel down as best I could and pin in place. I used 3 T-pins and stuck them straight down into the foam panel.
And here it is and already in use! Now, I only required a step stool to reach the top. Seriously, I will be able to pin up an entire quilt now, rather than just one section at a time. So I am very happy....and a huge thank you to my husband for his design and time to make this happen.
Next project.....I have just cut the squares to begin a one fabric quilt. It is from the book "Wonderful one fabric quilts". It is a black, grey and white wallpaper stripe fabric. Check back and see how it goes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Creating a new design wall

I have been wanting a new and improved design wall in my sewing room. Until now I have been used felt covered display boards (the tri-fold type of foam core) that I simply hung on hooks. These provided about 4 1/2 feet square of space, which was fine for my watercolor wall hangings, but not enough for a quilt layout. A couple of my Bee friends use flannel covered construction foam insulation boards that are screwed/nailed to the wall of their sewing space. So I whined enough to my husband and he has come up with a design to easily hang the design wall and also allow it to be moved!
First, he installed a narrow crown molding ( about 1 1/2" wide) about 12 inches from the ceiling, and about 8 inches from the existing crown molding. The flat portion of the back of the crown molding was nailed to the wall into the studs. The top edge does not touch the wall, and will be the lip--or French cleat--that the design wall panels will hang onto.
The second photo shows how the
cleats will hang onto the molding strip. The thin slats shown hanging here will be attached to the back of the construction foam insulation board with construction adhesive. The third photo shows the slat attached. Not only will they provide additional support for the insulation, they will be what we staple the flannel cover to. The top portion of the hanger is a 5 inch piece of molding that Russ screwed to the thin slat. This makes a perfect match for the french cleat. Additional slats will be attached across the top, middle and bottom of each board.
Russ got to use a lot of his tools and gadgets for this.....stud finder, laser level, nail gun and compressor, hand saw, screw driver, and a few more I am sure.
The next step is to cover both boards with flannel and staple it to the back. I purchased a double brushed flannel 108 inches wides from my favorite shopping site, , for this. So check back for the next steps and see the end result.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

By the shed

I finally got a photo taken of my latest watercolor. I am very happy with how it turned out. Inspiration was the view of the garden shed from my sewing room window. I have problems with perspective...but the impression is right. I wanted the path to look like it flowed into the border but just could not get it right. Finally, I added the tiny black bias around the inner section, stopping at where the path was. That seemed to create the illusion I wanted. Adding the window to the shed (which isn't really there) was a stroke of luck to push the shed back and make it part of the mid-ground instead of foreground. I also used a bit of colored pencils for extra shading on the shed. Now to find the right place to hang it.
From Bee group last night----Sarge said to add a comment to my entry on quilt labels. Make a label and "don't write on the back of a quilt with ball point pen!" Got to love her. She's telling it right. I have seen quilters do that. It's a pet peeve of mine. That's part of why we put together a guild program on labeling your quilts.
I finished lesson 5 for the blogging. Hope you enjoy the result.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lesson 3--linking

Here are a couple of great blogs I want to share
Blog 1 Quilting lesson online
Blog 2 Online quilting

Creating labels for quilts

I always name my quilts and create a label for them with details of inspiration, the pattern used, and who it is for. Why? This is my art form and I put a lot of effort and work into each quilt. They need to be signed, even when I give them away. Besides, I enjoy designing the label as an extra bit of art.
A few years ago I began using a simple greeting card program for this. I love the wonderful graphics in the program that make wonderful frames or borders for the label. I can usually find a graphic that just fits the theme or mood of the quilt. I create the label and print onto Printed Treasures sheets. Printed Treasures is a pre-treated fabric designed for inkjet printers. I try to create 2 or 3 labels at a time and use a whole sheet. But if I have a half page, or even a quarter page left over, I have found a trick to use. See the end of this entry for details.
I find it very difficult to hand stitch through the Printed Treasures, so I add 2 inch strip of fabric around all sides. I press under a 1/2 inch and spray starch it to get a crisp edge.
This photo is an example. The label is in a jacket I made from fabric my daughter, Deana, gave me from her stash. It was in black, grey and white with art deco-style ladies and graphics. I saved one lady to add to the label. The border graphic is a black line style that is art deco also. Then a 2 inch strip is added to all sides, pressed under and stitched to the lining.
Multiple graphics can be added too. For this mystery quilt label I used a full page. First I found the "footprints" border and set it. Then I ran across the wonderful profile graphic of Sherlock Holmes. I had to include it because I had named the quilt "Sherlock I am Not". I placed it in the upper corner area. For the title and the rest of the text requited 2 different text boxes to fill in the awkward space. To finish the label off, I used the "red herring" clue pieces (the tiny pinwheels), and leftover strips from the binding to create the border. Note that there is a second round of strips added on this one to have a good allowance to turn under.
Another thing I like about using the greeting card program is that you can easily import photos for your labels. That can really personalize the label and make it very special as a gift. One year my guild had a Red White and Blue Challenge. I made a celtic knot inspired quilt--from a Karen Combs class. The label had to be covered as part of the challenge. So I created a "book" style label complete with a knot closure. When opened you see the label text on the right and the left side has the photos of my Dad and Russ, my husband, who both served in the military. I used a celtic knot graphic on the text portion, and a military banner graphic under the photos. The two sections were created and printed separately and the joined with a 2 inch strip of fabric and bordered on 3 sides. The cover was strip pieced on the diagonal with fabrics leftover from the quilt and a narrow strip added to all 4 sides as a border. The cover was then stitched to the photo side pillow case style. Then turned right sides out. Only the text side is hand stitched to the quilt. The frog closure was then added.

I don't always make complex labels. Some are very simple with just a basic scrap style border. But I always include some type of graphic. This label is one one of my watercolor quilts, and has just the simple 2 inch strips added around it. One final note...when I create a label I always do a test print on paper before printing on the Printed Treasures. Then I have a file of ideas for label styles and graphics. I use these when I do a guild program presentation (along with my Bee group members) for other guilds.
Printed Treasures is too expensive to waste from typos or low ink! So I use every leftover bit. If I only have a single label to make and I have a small--quarter page--bit of Printed Treasures that needs to be used, here's a trick. Create label in the program and print it on paper. Check the size by laying the Printed Treasures over it. Hold it up to the light and check to see that the printed graphic and text fit and that there is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch on all sides. If your label size if too large, then adjust in the card program and reprint and check again. If it fits, then use scotch tape and tape the Printed Treasures --on all four sides--over the label you printed. Be sure the tape covers no more than a 1/4 inch on the edge of the Printed Treasures. Then place the paper with the taped on Printed Treasures section back into your printer. And print. You will have exact placement and no waste.
Ok...enough blogging and back to stitching.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

2009 quilts

This is "Turning 60".

I love the horizontal layout, it is so restful to me.

I do not usually do a lot of applique and this presented a challenge for me. After the first 30 leaves, the quilt began to take on a life of its own and the vines began to extend and twist more. There are sayings, and favorite adages written along the vines and around each leaf.

It is all about the journey of life. So to know me, read my quilt.

This is a trip around the world quilt done in the color wash technique to blend one row into the next one. I used Eleanor Burns technique with a little adjustment.
To get the fabrics to blend I needed to use smaller size strips. So I decided that I wanted the individual pieces to end up 1 and 1/2 inches by 3 inches. I then "back-tracked" through the technique and determined the correct size to use for the initial cut for the strip set.
Of course, I was short on 2 of the fabrics. But with this technique, I was able to mix in another fabric to complete the row.
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