Craft NAPA 2016, soy wax, embroidery, small works!

We are blog hopping, and I certainly hope that you might jump over to every name on our hopping list and comment (list is at the bottom of this post). There are great prizes in store if you do, but you must comment! And! I am hoping you might consider registering at Craft NAPA and take one of my classes, or a class from another fantastic teacher in our ranks.

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You Can’t Resist This! is a class that uses soy wax as a resist along with paint on cloth for an easily accessible way to build layers of color, texture and line. Soy wax is a champion in the resist department. It is super easy to use, easy to clean up, and it creates gorgeous cloth with depth, beauty and vibrancy. 

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In fact, I find soy wax resist, and building layers of color and texture to be addictive, like eating potato chips. And it is a good thing, because I have begun making quilts out of my fabrics, you can see one here. Being able to both make pleasing cloth and use it, is instrumental to making more cloth!!

Small Works

Small Works, Big Impact is a one of my most favorite classes to teach. Working small has had a huge impact  😉 on me as an artist. Working small can help you create larger works, if that is your goal, but they are also easy to complete, they sell well, as most folk have a small wall available to hang a well chosen small work, and I think it is also a great way to learn new techniques. Working small also lends itself well to working in series.

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The techniques we will use in this class include using tulle and sheer cloth overlay, fusible webbing and collage, in addition to finishing techniques. And remember, small works do not limit the possible subject matter to explore! Check out my gallery and Breastless Beauties pages to see more small works.

I have been creating and updating a pattern for what I am calling the 'Gather your Sew-plies!!' sewing chateliane (which is free on my blog). In this purse in particular I used the 15 Minutes Play idea, my idea was to use new materials (wool batting, fabrics new to me, and embroidery stitching). It worked, this is not a purse or flow of fabrics that I would have used had I not played with this idea. melanietesta.com/tag/gather-your-sew-plies/

The Gather Your Sew-plies!! purse is a great sew-on-the-go item for the studio as well as the coffee shop. The purse has a back pack styling that remains close to your body, while carrying the essentials, needles, thread, thimble, pins, scissors and embroidery floss. The purse pattern will be supplied, and we will focus on using embroidery as a means to Journal with Fabric and Embroidery

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The purse I show here uses stitch to enliven a fantastic commercial fabric. If you would like to see more purses, click here and scroll downward.

I would love to teach and work from you. I very much look forward to meeting up, enjoying Napa, making new friends and enjoying old friends too. I do hope you will register!


Here is a shout out to the wonderful CRAFT NAPA sponsors, BERNINA and Meissner Sewing and Vacuum Centers

BERNINA Made to Create Right

 

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PLEASE comment on this post if you want to win great prizes. All comments go into one big grand prize drawing that will happen after Pokey’s blog post.

Comments close on Dec 10th. 

The grand prize is a $500 Gift Certificate from eQuilter.com! 

I will award one commenter on this blog with a copy of Dreaming from the Journal Page. So, please, comment. Also!! Check out all the blogs listed below and comment freely.


Nov 30- Jane LaFazio – http://janeville.blogspot.com/

Dec 1 – Lynn Krawczyk – http://smudgeddesignstudio.com/blog/

Dec 2 – Judy Coates Perez – http://www.judycoatesperez.com/

Dec 3 – Jenny K. Lyon – http://quiltskipper.com/blog/

Dec 4 – Jamie Fingal – http://JamieFingalDesigns.blogspot.com/

Dec 5 – Melanie Testa – http://melanietesta.com/blog/ (Here you are!)

Dec 6 – Elizabeth St. Hilaire – http://www.paperpaintings.com/

Dec 7– Leslie Jenison – http://leslietuckerjenison.blogspot.com/

Dec 8- Carrie Bloomston – http://www.carriebloomston.com/blog/

Dec 9 – Cheryl Sleboda – http://blog.muppin.com

Dec 10 – Pokey Bolton – http://pokeysponderings.com/

meadowlark, design, cut and sew?

I have been using, and loving, Quiltography for iPad. It has ‘potato chip factor’, which means, I open it, start designing and cannot stop. I think I have designed over 40 quilt tops using Meadowlark. But it is now time to begin making quilts using the information the app provides. As I have been doing this, I realize that, I have never designed, cut and made a quilt top in this manner before. Previously, I have done improvisational piecing or have used an established pattern. 

 

After designing the quilt top, I started by making a few sample blocks. This helped me to understand that the Half Rectangle Triangles used on the star block (photo below), were somewhat tricky. To get the HRT sewn well, it seemed that I should either paper piece or perhaps purchase a ruler specific to the task.

Although I continue to want the Bloc_Loc Half Rectangle Triangle, for whatever reason, I chose to use paper piecing this time around. Paper piecing is accessible and easy to do. I drew out my block, scanned that into my computer and printed as many as was needed to complete the stars in the upper left of the quilt top. As you can see, there is a bit of waste with this method, but it seemed to me by watching the video related to the ruler that waste is part of acheiving an elongated triangle, no matter what approach you use.

So I bit the bullet and proceeded with paper piecing. At the moment, I have all of the star blocks complete. Yeah!!

Today I will begin cutting asymmetrical border #1, which is all straight line stitching. I am excited to have found a Bloc_Loc Half Square Triangle ruler at my local quilt store, The City Quilter (which also carries my line-and sells online), so I bought in the 6″ size. If they had the Half Rectangle Triangle, I would have bought that too.  😉 

The yellow in this photograph appears a bit too bright, I will work on getting the color better in future photographs.

It will be quite interesting to see the entire quilt upon completion. It is interesting to use the Quiltography for iPad app to design, but as I make the quilt blocks, I keep thinking about the size of the screen and the images you are able to see as you design within the app, compared to full sized, made in cloth quilt. 

Designing a quilt from start to finish with the intention of making blocks to a specific measurement has been a very interesting experience. I like it! And, with my affection for two sided quilts, I may well be making quilt top #2, to back this one!

I look forward to spring, don’t you? And because I need distraction, if you are making something you are excited about, I would love for you to share a link to your blog. Please show me what you are up to!

 

Of friends, jelly roll quilting and embracing long unused skills.

DSC_0002This last year I have been in deep and total immersion into multicolor printing using Procion MX dyes. I have printed about 50 yards of cloth, believe it or not. And when you print that much cloth, it goes to say that you should also try to use as much cloth! At the same time, I have a back log of cloth that I have been printing and gathering for the last 10-15 years! I don’t consider myself to much of a stasher, not compared to my friends anyway, and I would love to get to the point where I am not stashing at all, but rather, making cloth per project/quilt and acquiring materials to fill out and finish said project.

I have been sorting, cutting and stacking, cut squares. I mean, Damn! Look at these fat stacks!

What you see here is  my backlog fabrics, not the ones I printed this year. These older pieces of cloth work really nicely in padding out my current multicolor printed cloth and they also show me my progress as a dyer and artist. Win!!

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This quilt, a jellyroll quilt, I put together a few weeks ago, while at my twice yearly quilt art retreat. This quilt is filled with girlfriend love. We put aside our personal projects to exchange strips of fabric with one another and bang out a usable quick and dirty beauty. This quilt has one piece of fabric from each member of the group and then then some (!!!).

Yesterday, Teri came to Brooklyn to help me bring my machine in for repair and to help me with the many, many projects that are piling up, with ‘just one last thing’ needed, before being able to call them complete.

Teri Lucas helped me complete the jellyroll in many ways. 1. Teri helped me with trimming the quilt down, teaching me how to square it and what to square it to. 2. Teri cut and attached the binding (teaching me her methods all the way through, this is a 2″ French straight grain binding, I usually cut 2.25″ bindings [the straight grain part was my idea and is related to the cloth I wanted to bind it with]). 3. Teri gave me the fantastic idea of utilizing my local quilt store to cut quilts down and possibly even baste- NYC apartment living can really crimp a large quilts style! 4. Teri got me out of the house and made me re-member how important it is to hang out with friends, I tend to be a bit of a recluse and artistic shut-in.

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 And then!! Last weekend, Stephanie Forsyth and her best friend Sally came to New York City. Beside walking up a storm, going to the Statue of Liberty, going to Carnegie Hall to see Handel’s Messiah, and eating and drinking while basking in our shared friendship, Steph hand sewed the binding on this quilt, made of my own printed cloth.

Do I have awesome friends, or what?

Want to know what I love best about both Stephanie and Teri, in addition to my retreat gal pals? I learn from these women. First, I learn what love, affection and friendship means, and I get to do it while dishing about cloth and fiber. I learn (relearn) that it is OK to ask for help. And my soul becomes fortified to what it means to have and be a friend.

Teri put forth a challenge to me to try sewing the finished edge of the binding she applied by machine. I have never done this before. I usually sew that last bit by hand. Elizabeth (a member of my retreat group) did this and I liked the ‘Done!’ factor! I mean, that is quick! Do you think I should take her up on it? Let me know in the comments.

This just in, we need to interrupt this regularly sch…

I think I am having a star crush right now.

Katherine Heigl, Bernina

Remember when the picture of Russell Crow, knitting, was circulating?  Totally crush worthy.

Katherine Heigl, Bernina

I have a source who identified this box as a 5 series machine! LOL.

Where we began.

Earlier this week, I asked you to tell me how you began sewing. The comments are fabulous

I honestly think I was destined to work with my hands, I have always had an aptitude for it. I can close my eyes and visualize how something should go together. At a very young age, I remember my mom cutting a skirt pattern out, and I caught the fact that the plaid would not match up at the side seam. Also around that time, my mom had a friend who was into sewing and helped me make a vest. I sewed beads and trims by hand to the front border. It was meticulous work that I take pride in having done to this day.

I am so glad I had Home Ec in high school, kids these days don’t even know about it! I am showing my age!

I also think it is funny that so many of us who sew will hold onto a restriction, like fear of zippers and buttons.

Bernina 550, Mixed Media Painting by Melanie Testa Female magazine

When I was given the serger I spoke of, I took lessons in how to use it. It is a scary machine, having 4 threads two of which stay on the top, two that meander through the inner workings of the machine. If one gets broken, it can be a tricky, fiddle-worthy event. The teacher looked at me and reminded me that I was working with a machine and that I was in control. That bit of advice has gone a really long way for me.

It helps that this Bernina 550 replicates buttonholes with advanced and simple controls! Ha.

Check this and this out. I think I may have to look into Alabama Chanin’s books! Do any of you own one of her books? Can you recommend one? This one? Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: A Guide to Hand-Sewing an Alabama Chanin Wardrobe