This is my latest Embroidery project – Van Gogh By Thread! I gave a class to my embroidery group last month on creating little scenic still life themes with embroidery; for my own project I chose one of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers paintings as inspiration. The stitchery was done mainly with six-strand floss (with a little pearl cotton) onto wool felt. The panel, which measures about 10″ tall by 6″ wide, originally started square but ended up wonky with the distortion the stitching created, I probably could have kept it more squared up with a stabilizer beneath the felt but I really like the asymmetrical presentation the way it turned out.
The entire embroidery was done on the improv – no preliminary drawing, I just picked up a needle and started stitching by eye so my rendering is not an exact reproduction of the painting, just a similar arrangement. It was challenging but fun and I think I’d like to turn this into a class if people are interested. I want to explore more of Van Gogh’s paintings for future projects, maybe one of his landscapes. His work is particularly well suited to this because of the brush strokes he employed – they are perfect to represent in stitching. Once again, I will simply improvise by eye rather than draw out a detailed master plan.
Yesterday I gave a private class to my small quilt group on making Molas. I love making them by hand applique but also have a fast machine made version and for this class. I allowed the group members to choose which method they wished to learn – I usually restrict a class to one method or the other because they really are quite different techniques but my group members were willing to sit through the instruction for each method with courtesy and patience. I had eight students, two made their Molas by machine, the others all worked with hand applique. Five created their own unique designs while three used patterns from the collection I have designed.
Our hostess, Jane, was the Superstar completing her machine made Mola from start to finish using a new pattern I had created by her request of a Native American pot; it turned out gorgeous but I – Miss Swiss Cheese For Brains – was so busy helping all the students that I neglected to take a photo of her Mola. I will do so at a future date but for now, I am posting a few photos of my own Molas.
We worked and ate homemade coffee cake made by me, chewy gooey oh so delicious brownies made by Jane’s grandson, luscious bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes and heavenly Moonstruck Chocolate graciously provided by a group member who is one of Moonstruck’s leading Chocolatiers. We got to taste a preview of an upcoming flavor being developed for next Mother’s Day along with the last batch of a flavor – ‘Cherry Blossom’ – that was specially developed for the Portland Japanese Garden’s grand re-opening earlier this year. The Cherry Blossom chocolate is being retired and will be seen no more to my dismay, it was delicious.
Speaking of things retiring, we capped off the meeting/class with a trip to member Steve’s home for a last shopping trip at what was left of his fabric inventory; he closed his online store One World Fabrics for good last week and gave us all unbelievable deals on the fabric he had left, I wish my budget had allowed me to buy more and I focused on the fabrics I knew were not likely to cross my path again.
Now that One World is gone, your next best bet to pick up those lovely Taupe Fabrics is atPioneer Quilts, they still have a fairly nice selection of these hard to find fabrics. I am now working there part time and just posted a piece about Taupe fabric and quilts on Pioneer’s Facebook Page.
Spring is here and it’s time to do a little spring cleaning – don’t forget to include your fabric scrap bag in this task. Most spring cleaning is not so fun (unless you are a clean freak who takes pleasure in scrubbing and dusting) but this project IS fun.
Some of us (ahem) just can’t seem to part with scraps easily and there are a number of ways I’ve seen small scraps dealt with. Some quilters shred them and use them in confetti quilts, others pack the shreds into glass jars and call them ‘Quilters’ Jam’ giving them away to friends as whimsical gifts, a friend of mine saves the tiniest of bits and pieces that a friend of hers uses as stuffing in dog beds she makes and yet most quilters (God forbid!) throw them away into the trash! Ladies and Gentlemen – your grandmothers and great grandmothers would turn in their graves if they knew you were throwing these away! I have gone ‘dumpster diving’ into the waste baskets at some of my quilting classes and found what I would consider YARDAGE!. I have made quilts almost entirely from what I glean off of my guild’s free table -as if I did not generate enough scraps of my own.
One friend of mine showed a lovely twin sized quilt at Show and Tell at the guild several years ago, it was a lovely combination of scrappy stars and when the gasps of appreciation had died down she said “I just wanted you ladies who were at the retreat to see what you threw away”. Lets face it – quilting was born of a frugality by our fore-mothers to make use of every last piece of precious fabrics.
Some quilters don’t have the patience to work with scraps. Ascertaining that the scrap is large enough to get the necessary pieces from, re-cutting and trimming them to the appropriate shape and size can be labor intensive, especially for a generation who prefer slicing off large chunks of fabric from yardage with a rotary cutter and then fast piecing them for instant gratification.
This quilt for my Spring Cleaning Stash Buster class is not so fussy. The scraps are string pieced randomly and quickly using chain piecing then reassembled with larger chunks (yes you can scratch your itch to get out your rotary cutters and fat quarters for this part) into carefree blocks that go together FAST to make quilt tops in any size you wish.
Please consider joining me at this class coming up at Pioneer Quilts in about a week and a half – May 23rd, with your scrap bag and sewing machine in hand. We will make mincemeat of those scraps and you will have not only a beautiful quilt but also the knowledge that those scraps did not suffer the indignity of quietly moldering in a landfill.
Another class coming even sooner is my Machine Quilting 101 class at A Common Thread next weekend. The first session is on Sunday May 21st followed by part 2 on Sunday May 28th. This is an excellent introduction to Machine Quilting to gain the skills to quilt your own tops with confidence. If that schedule or location doesn’t work for you, I have the same class coming up at Sharon’s Attic on two Saturdays – June 3 & 17 and for you Eastsiders at Pioneer Quilts on June 13 & 20 (Tuesdays).