Sunday, January 23, 2011

Susan Brubaker Knapp – Part 2

Yesterday, I was privileged to take another class from Susan Knapp……this time it was all about Thread Sketching.  As with the photo class, I learned much and truly enjoyed the day.

The goal of this class was to prepare and thread paint a dragonfly.

First step was to assemble the pattern…..


Then we traced the wings onto our backing fabric and added fused body shapes  cut from our favorite fabrics…..


We pinned the top to a piece of interfacing and pulled out the threads…..Susan suggests using a 50 or 60 weight cotton thread, but also encouraged us to use what we had on hand……


and started sewing……


after the majority of the thread painting was done, we went back in and added the tiny “window panes” of the wings. 

Here is my finished project……

_1221449 I particularly like the hairy legs!!!

Once again, Susan did a wonderful job of teaching, encouraging and creatively helping us to solve our problems. 

_1221428 I LOVE the intent looks of everyone’s faces!!!!

This is her dragonfly……

_1221430 I desperately wanted to keep examining it before I would sew, but instead tried to make the thread painting truly my own!!

When I got home I started looking at photos with idea of trying to thread paint one of them.    This is the one that I keep coming back to……

_3094537It has lots of texture and easily distinguishable shadings.    Maybe, just maybe I will attempt this sometime in the not to distant future!!!!

Stay tuned………

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Day With Susan Brubaker Knapp

Today I spent a day at my local quilt shop taking a class with the famous Susan Brubaker Knapp.  Check out her website here or her blog here…..

You have probably seen some of her wonderful thread paintings in many of the popular quilting magazines and today I had the privilege of sitting under her teaching!!!


The class was called “Start with a Photo” and it took us through the process of using a photo as the inspiration and then turning it into a quilt.  She provided a photo and pattern of a red barn……


The first step was to use a sharpie to draw the design onto  a medium weight upholstery clear vinyl.  This is the pattern that we used for the rest of the day.

We then prepared fusible web sections, selected fabrics and fused the piece together.  The full piece was placed on a piece of sew-in interfacing and the FUN BEGAN…..

We took various threads and started to add details with machined threadwork.   Most of the threads were 40 weight, but many of us used whatever we happened to have.   I particularly enjoyed using some variegated threads in the grass areas. 

Here is my piece at the end of the day……


Obviously I have a way to go before it will be finished!!!!

Now, on to the REAL quilts of  the day.  Here are some of the quilts that Susan brought to inspire us……

I loved these spools when I saw them in a magazine……


This is a small quilt (maybe 8x6) and Susan told us that there are only four different pieces of fabric in it….the rest is done with THREAD……


In this one, the slices were done separately, a back was sewn on, they were turned and then appliqued to the top.  The result is that they have a LOT of wonderful dimension……


I love the movement in the grasses……..


Some of these pumpkins are done in trapunto to give them more dimension…..


I am fortunate to be able to take Susan’s Thread Painting Class tomorrow…..I CANT WAIT!!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Decorating the Senior Center

Our county built a new, wonderful Senior Center a couple of years ago.    It is an excellent facility but the main meeting room has vaulted ceilings and is painted white.  The result is that it tends to be boring and the sounds echo around in it.  This is how it looked……


So, enter the Charity Bee from our local guild,  and a few months later……


We made these six quilts using traditional patterns and various fabrics that have been donated to the Charity Bee.  I wrote about designing these quilts back in July….here is the post…..

Here are close-ups of the 6 quilts……

_C011017 _C011019 _C011009 _C011012 _C011013 _C011016 I would love to be a fly on the wall and hear what the Seniors say in the morning!!!!  I hope that they enjoy looking at them as much as we enjoyed the making of them!!!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Power Piecing

Back before New Year’s I started a scrap quilt using a “Split Nine Patch” design from Bonnie Hunter (check out her blog here).    In her description of the block she talked about a standard Split Nine Patch that looks like this……


She thought that this was a bit boring, so she turned the Half-square triangle around so that it looks like this……

2nd This makes for a MUCH  more exciting block!!!!


ANYWAY, I had been piecing on these blocks, intending to make a Queen size quilt from them.

But then an opportunity arose….. our Guild Charity Bee provides quilts to the two local Relay for Life programs each year.  They use these quilts to raise money for the American Cancer Society.  Well, this year we were running a bit late in the planning and execution of these two quilts, so I offered to use my blocks and make two tops.

SO, this past week I spent many hours sewing “as fast as the wind” to get these finished by this week.  When I am in this mode, I have termed it “Power Piecing”….you dont think, you dont plan, you just sew and iron!!!!!

Here are the two tops…..




Now someone else will add borders, our wonderful friend, Ellen will quilt them and they will hopefully be ready to deliver by the first of February.

My hope is that they raise TONS of money for cancer research!!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Well, I guess that I will join the rest of the Southeastern US Bloggers and talk about the unusual weather we are having.  Yesterday (Monday) somewhere  between 7 and 9 inches of snow fell and everything is pretty much shut down here.

Fortunately we have managed to keep our electricity going so I have enjoyed having some extra time in my studio where I have been working on a Split Nine Patch pattern.

Hubby and I ventured out to the store this morning and found the bread aisle looking like this…..


As you can see, people here tend to panic at the mere mention of bad weather!!!!

I took a little walk around the street and found this wonderful  “punk hairdo” snowman in my next door neighbor’s yard…..

_1111305 They obviously brought out their imagination when building him…._1111309

_1111312The snow makes everything so pretty……   _1111319and I love the shapes that you find in the trees and on the ground……_1111326 _1111320

So anyway, the cat is comfy outside…….

_1101293 The birds are fighting over the feeder…….


and all is right with the world!!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A fun morning with Mary Stori

On Tuesday morning, I traveled to the Lake Oconee Quilter’s Guild meeting to hear a talk by Mary Stori.    She is a wonderful writer and speaker and provided a fun morning….._1041285
Her talk was entitled “Let It Shine” and in less than 45 minutes, she had me hooked on the idea  of using beads on my quilts.  She told us that the two secrets to beading are spacing and stabilizing, and then she proceeded to show many examples of how to accomplish these tasks.
She encouraged us to make sure that the beads were well integrated into the quilt….either as the focal design or as embellishments designed to enhance the project.  She also encouraged us to use different types and sizes of beads to bring more texture to the project.
These are some of my favorite quilts that she showed……
You may need to click on this photo to be able to actually see the beads, but they are scattered carefully over this simple trapunto quilt and just add SO much to the design….._1041284 This quilt is called “Fish Sticks” and is WONDERFUL!!!!!
_1041280 This little bead and button garden was so cute……
Finally, this parrot really captured my imagination……_1041282Now, I have never tried beading before and never really thought that I wanted to, but I am starting to re-think that philosophy.  We are going to be in China for 5 weeks this year and I have been trying to figure out what I could take to work on, but now I am thinking about creating a quilt top with simple fused flower shapes and taking beads to embellish it with.  Who knows, I might even find a good bead source while I am there.
SO, it seems that driving to this talk was a good CHOICE for the first Tuesday of 2011!!!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bonnie knows best!!!

You know how it is… have done one task in the same way for years and years and years, and someone tells you another way to do it.  Your first thought is “nah…that wont work” and so you continue on in your old way.  Well, let me tell you my story……

I hate making Half-square triangles, and I have tried EVERY WAY possible.  I started out by cutting the squares 7/8” larger than the finished size, cutting thru the diagonal and then trying to sew the triangles together with a correct 1/4 inch seam.  The points would jam under the needle, my seam allowance would vary and it NEVER worked!!!!

Then, I started placing two (7/8” larger) squares together, drawing the diagonal line and then sewing 1/4 inch on each side of the line.  I would cut them in half, press and behold….they were NEVER the right size.

SO, I joined the ranks of people who would cut the squares too big, sew on the diagonals, cut, press and THEN use a ruler to square-up the patches to the correct size.  This process provided for perfect size squares, but it was very time intensive.


Enough history….. move onto current events… the last couple of weeks, I have just wanted to sew.  It didn’t matter what I was working on, but I just needed to feel the fabric, see the stitches and use my rotary cutter!!!  So, I turned to Bonnie Hunter’s website and selected one of her scrap quilt patterns to work on.    This is Nine Patch Split…..

9patchsplit 010


Since my plan is to make it much bigger, the first thing that I needed were 500+ half-square triangles.  Well, I almost stopped right there!!!!  But in Bonnie’s instructions, she told how to use the “Easy Angle II” ruler to make 1/2 square triangles .


Since I had the ruler already, I decided to give it a try…..just to prove to myself that it wouldn’t work!!!!!

These are the steps that you use….

Cut strips of fabric that are the finished block size plus 1/2 inch.  Place them face sides together.

Use the Easy Angle to cut one triangle “thingy”……


Then flip the ruler to the other side and cut another……._1031272 

Sew the shapes together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance


and….VOILA…..perfect sized 1/2 square triangles   (you just have to clip that one point)!!!!!!


I also found that if I was chain piecing and started sewing with the pointed end of the triangle and ended on the cut off point it was easier to start the next triangle.

So, in a very short time I made hundreds of half square triangles!!!!!


THEN, I read in her instructions about keeping the “chains” together until after they were pressed.  Again, I thought…..”no, no, no”.  But once again the practical side of my brain said “why don’t you give it a try” and once again, BONNIE WAS RIGHT!!!!!

If you place the chains on your ironing board, they line up beautifully for pressing and I found that it was WAY faster and easier to do.

  _C291254 _C291255

(note here that it is NOT easy to iron with your left hand and take a photo with your right) _C291256

So here I say THANK YOU BONNIE for making my life easier and for providing such wonderful hints and instructions!!!!!

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