Friday, February 27, 2009

Embossing Velvet

First off, a brief explanation why I have been missing for most of the last week. It is not a coincidence that this is also how long I have not been a smoker. In my attempt to break the mental habits associated with this physical addiction I have been abstaining from the things I connect with smoking cigarettes. For example: sitting on the computer, drinking coffee, being civil to people, etc Okay, the last one was a joke. I think. Anyway, with a week under my belt it is time to get back to my life so I have been playing with some velvet...

It is hard to get good photos of the embossed velvet since it depends on reflection so much but they really do turn out beautifully. These two were done on scraps of a rayon velvet I found at the thrift store. Took a little diligence to go through the velvet clothing items checking the labels for content but well worth it. It is my understanding that rayon and silk give the best results in this technique and I have to say I am very pleased with the way the rayon velvet worked. In the photo the velvet looks black but it is really what I would consider a Christmas red.
The technique is simple so I'll explain it step by step. No pictures I'm afraid because I only have two hands and everyone seems to be avoiding me this last week so there is no one nearby to help with the camera. lol
1. Choose a rubber stamp you want to use and place it stamp side up on your ironing surface.
2. Use a spray bottle to mist the top of the stamp. (Don't let it puddle - might want to tap some of the water off by hitting the side of the stamp on something if necessary). Put the stamp back where it was again.
3. Lay your velvet piece on top of the stamp with the luxurious yummy nap of the fabric facing down onto the stamp. The back of the fabric is now looking up at you, right? Good.
4. Using your trusty spray bottle of water moisten the back of the velvet.
5. Now using your iron on the highest setting your fabric will tolerate press down on the velvet/stamp sandwich you built. Twenty seconds should do it. Check - if your fabric melted it was too hot or too long. If all looks good peel up a corner and take a peek - if it looks like it could use a little more carefully put it back and iron a bit longer. Keep your iron flat and parallel to the stamp. If you rock it back and forth you are liable to get an impression of the edge of the stamp surface - not pretty. If you have a Teflon iron cover it works very well. I have one I found - where else? - at the thrift store and it works. You want to avoid the steam holes on your iron - the Teflon plate will help with this. Or you might be lucky enough to have an iron which does not have steam holes. Or you just have to be careful to try to avoid the steam holes by using the centre of the plate on your iron.
Do not use steam in your iron. Empty the water of your iron first just in case!
Okay, did that make sense? I hope so! If you are thinking this is something you might like to try but not right now (I have a lot of things on that list!) leave a comment on this post and I will pick one name on Monday morning and mail you a piece of the embossed velvet I did for you to play with! Sound good? Okay then!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Build a Seam Challenge - Week 20 (Basque Stitch)


This week's Build a Seam Challenge is a lesser used stitch called the Basque Stitch. It creates a series of loops and is good on curved seams and interesting when done with varigated thread. There are good diagrams and instructions available in Sharon B's Stitch Dictionary which are very helpful if this stitch is unfamiliar to you. You are also likely to find instructions in any good stitch book you may have at your disposal.

The Build a Seam Challenge is open to anyone who would like to take part. My only request is that you share a picture of what you come up with. Please leave a comment with a link to your photo so we can all enjoy your creation. The purpose of the challenge is to try to stretch our comfort zones a bit as far as seam treatments go by trying new stitches, etc. Each week I will post a new stitch or a basic framework for a seam and it is up to everyone to see what they can add in the way of stitches, beads, baubles, etc. to come up with a seam treatment they are happy with. Have fun!

My BAS Sample Seam Treatment for Week 19


I finished up my seam treatment for last week's herringbone and cretan stitch combination. As you can see, I only added some detached chain (lazy daisy) stitches and a few french knots. I like the way this one turned out though. I used the Japanese silk buttonhole thread I received from Hideko for this seam - it is such a joy to stitch with!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Harmony Village 2009 Block of the Month Quilt

I have just found - and fallen in love with - this free Block of the Month from Harmony Quilts in Australia. Not only is it free - it uses scraps! What could be better? The first two months are already posted at the website so it is time to play a little catch up if I am going to make this one. How could I resist? lol

Row Robin - Teresa's Quilt

I have just finished my work on Teresa's Row Robin and sent it on it's way to Cathy. Cathy will be the last one to add to this quilt top and then it will be on it's way home to Teresa. I bet she is excited! My maple leaf quilt top is on it's way home to me as we speak and I am very excited to see it in person!
Teresa's quilt was based on Underground Railroad blocks and when I looked over the patterns provided I decided on the Shoo-fly block. Nice easy block I thought! Once I started cutting the fabric I realized that each 12" block was actually four 6" blocks - a little more complicated than I had bargained on! I wonder, is this really the easiest way to force myself to learn to quilt? I enjoyed making the blocks though and was quite pleased with how they turned out.



This is the quilt after I added my row of Shoo-flys. I loved the blocks as I made them, loved the row when I added it BUT now after I took a picture and look at it I think the light colour blocks stick out like a sore thumb! The deadline for mailing was upon me so I went ahead and mailed it but I have offered to make a couple replacement blocks for Teresa to replace these two if she is not happy with them. Whether they work of not may well depend on what happens in the next and last row to be added I suppose.

Bear Tracks Quilt Blocks

I have been battling a flu this last week or so (and losing badly! lol). As a result I haven't felt much like doing anything in the line of housework, etc., so I have been doing a bit of "sane quilting" instead. These six blocks are in a pattern from Quilter's Cache called Bear Tracks.
The little claw bits drove me crazy but it was my own fault. This was for a block lottery at the Mailblocks Yahoo group and I got to choose the block for January. These bear tracks are all done in plaids and I thought it would be a great quilt. Why did I get to choose the block for January? Because I won the December lottery! I am waiting for all the blocks to arrive in the mail for that lottery before I post pictures of them. These bear tracks are in the mail on their way to Melanie - the lucky winner for January.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Build a Seam Challenge - Week 19


Here is the challenge seam for this week. Just when you thought I had presented Cretan Stitch and Herringbone Stitch in every possible combination, I found one more! These two stitches look great together and I thought this would be a fun one to work with. I hope you all enjoy stitching along with this one!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Margreet's BAS Seams

I have to point out the beautiful memory block that Margreet has made using some of the Build a Seam seams. It is such a beautiful piece of crazy quilting. Check it out at:
http://tinyurl.com/bj55kg

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ritva's BAS Seam Treatments

Ritva has been faithfully doing the Build a Seam Challenge. Here is her BAS Flickr album if you would like to go see the lovely results of her stitching along:
http://tinyurl.com/bfwby6

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Week 18 BAS Seam Treatment


Well, here is my Week 18 seam. This week started with a double row of cretan stitch. To that I added pearls in two different sizes and some straight stitches. It's in a pretty busy section of the block I just posted so there is a lot of other stuff going on there!

Friendship Block


This little 6" block is one I just finished tonight for a friend. It needed to be pieced in neutrals and embellished in pastels with the emphasis on blue and aqua. The cabochon photographed very dark - it is not this dark in person. It is a cameo-like carving on mother-of-pearl or shell of some sort and I feel in love with it as soon as I saw it. So, I had to use it right away so it would not disappear into the great abyss I call my stash. I was in the mood for beads obviously so they are everywhere.
The butterfly motif was my first attempt at dyeing lace using icing colours and I'm pleased with it because it turned out pretty much as I was planning. You can see the basting line on this block and that the fringe of the cabachon extends past it but the last two rows are not attached to the fabric so they can be taped out of the way when sewing it to other blocks.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Build a Seam Challenge - Week 18


Here is the seam for this week's challenge. This time it is a double row of Cretan Stitch. If you click on the picture, you can enlarge it for a better look. Looking at mine now, I wish I had spaced them a bit further apart in order to create more nooks and crannys to add other elements. So, that is something to keep in mind when you do yours.
I hope this week's seam challenge is enjoyable for everyone taking part and I'll look forward to seeing what you come up with. Have fun!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Seam for Last Week

Well, I haven't posted for a couple weeks on how I have finished up the Build a Seam Challenges, so I thought it was about time. With last week's Laced Stitch I simply added silver spacer beads sewn on with little seed beads. I kept thinking I'd make another pass and add something else... And I thought the spacer beads were too heavy for this stitch... Then I decided to take the advice my buddy Leslie keeps giving me and knock the Inner Critic off my shoulder and leave it as is. So, here it is! lol

Next UFO on The List


It is my hope that by posting this I will feel some pressure to actually finish it. These are the results of a block swap called Between Friends. They are large blocks, 16", in reds, whites and blacks. They have been sitting here in a pizza box for over a year! As you can see, even the cat is surprised they are seeing the light of day at last. I will need to make additional blocks to have enough for a queen size quilt which is what I want. I would like this done in time to gift my brother with it on his birthday on May 1st. So, I'm pledging to get the blocks made, the top assembled and have it quilted and in the mail in time for the start of May.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Kiss Me" Dishcloth


Well, what can I say? I couldn't even wait til I'd pressed it and woven in the ends! Instead I just stuffed it into the scanner and here it is. This was the February dishcloth KAL - on a Valentines theme of course! It challenged my limited memory skills with all the back and forth between knit and purl. Good thing I put two on the needles this time because one totally didn't work. It will, however, work fine to wash dishes!
I have decided I don't care for these pictoral ones as much as the mid-month KAL which is usually more a different stitch technique. I think I'll stick with those ones from now on.
The knitting bug does seem to have bitten me well and good though because I started a throw tonight for DDIL for her birthday on the 16th. It is made up of six panels and I finished the first one tonight. Will post it when done.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Valentine Box of Candy


Yet another dishcloth! I am still in the Valentines Day theme so this one is a Valentines Box of Candy. I did this one last night while watching tv. The KAL (knit along) dishcloth for February has started on the Monthly Dishcloth group on Yahoo as well so have a couple of those on the needles as well. I have done two days worth of knitting on them and still can't figure out what the picture might end up being. I guess that is why they call it a mystery! lol

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Build a Seam Challenge - Week 17 (Laced Stitch)


For week 17 of the Build a Seam Challenge I have chosen a Laced Stitch. If you click on the picture you should be able to enlarge it and get a clear view of how it is put together. You start with two rows of tiny vertical stitches done in pairs directly above one another. Then you take your needle and thread through the stitches as seen in the picture. The shape can vary slightly according to how you keep your tension on the thread. I have left the last couple stitches unlaced so you can see the little vertical stitches more clearly.

For anyone just dropping in for the first time, the Build a Seam challenge is open for anyone to try. You can start with this seam or go back and play catch up - totally up to you. The idea is to stretch ourselves a bit and get away from doing the same two or three stitches on our crazy quilting seam treatments all the time. So each week I post a stitch or a starting off place and everyone can challenge themselves to add whatever they like to it in the way of additional stitches, beads, etc to come up with a seam treatment they like. I would love to be able to share some of the seams here so please consider leaving a comment with a link to your blog, flickr album or wherever we can go to see the seam. Thanks!