So it’s July and we are half-way through the year. The stitching project I embarked on in January- ‘1 Year of Stitches’ is now also 6-months old. I stitch a little every day, sometimes only a few stitches, sometimes a little more. Looking at the latest progress photo, I’m wondering whether I’ve used up more than half of the available background?!
Karen M- Year of Stitches
There is still a lot of filling of gaps to do yet, so I shouldn’t run out before year’s end. (I post a progress photo on Instagram every few days if you want to see more.) It’s turning into a little community. See the waves of the beach over to the right with the friendly whale! There’s also a ship with the Aussie flag- a little nod to my son in the Navy.
I’ve also completed the block for June for the do.Good. stitches charity quilt group: our instructions were to use only shades of green, yellow and white with a pink centre.
June- Cherish group- do.Good
And apart from that, I’ve also been busy with client’s quilts on the longarm. Here’s a couple of recent finishes:
Old and vintage fabrics, stitcheries and embroideries, old cloth and linen- I love all of these and love to work with them when I can. I have various bits and pieces that I’ve been lucky enough to be given or have found in op shops or craft stalls etc. The rider is, of course, that I always say that I will probably be cutting it up or tearing into pieces to make something ‘new’, so as long as everyone is happy with that, I’ll take whatever I’m given!
Some years ago, I went shopping with my daughter in a second-hand shop and we came across a beautiful powder-blue dress which probably dated from the sixties. It was a short close-fitting sheaf, with a satin lining and lace overlay. It fit my daughter’s slim figure perfectly, so I just had to take the length up a little and she wore it to a race day. The strip of lace and fabric I had to cut off didn’t get thrown away- I kept it and just recently found a use for it.
I’be been experimenting with stitching paper and cloth and laces etc. as part of an online course with Karen Ruane. We are experimenting and making little bits and pieces that can be attached to pages in an ‘artist book’, or a little journal if you like. I used the lace scrap to stitch onto some tracing paper.
Using free-motion machine stitching, I stitched round and round in a random fashion. The tissue paper can then be torn off, leaving little paper scraps left behind, or leave it on as you wish.
It can then be enhanced with further stitching including hand-stitching and embellished, as I did below. I cut off one section of th elace, removed the tissue paper from the middle part, and hand-stitched it onto some cream hand-made khadi paper.The little wooden beads are from an old necklace of mine that broke years ago.
I often use a lot of text prints in my quilts- you know all those fabrics available in recent years that look like newspaper, or pages torn from a book, or random words, pictures of ticket stubs and maps, magazine ads etc. I like them for the background of blocks, or as the ‘neutral’ in a colour scheme. I can’t articulate what it is in particular I like about them- I just do. I think that also extends to my fondness for cityscapes and houses with the repetitive pattern of squares and rectangles, as well as stripes and other graphic elements. I have even incorporated some houses into my Year of Stitches piece- I’ve been doing at least one stitch a day, every day since January 1. I first mentioned it here.
This is a catch-up or progress photo for May:
I’m making it up as I go along, and I’ve noticed that it is turning into a little stitched ‘map’ of a community. On the one side I have the row of houses, there are some children skipping and their pet dog, and over on the other side there are some trees in a little area turning into a little country landscape.
I’m interested in making a quilted ‘map’, a quilt which will use the elements of a map, but not necessarily be a geographically-correct map. It would use the elements of a map in its design, with the lines and curves and images here and there. I’ve had this book by Valerie Goodwin for some time which shows some beautiful quilts and ideas on how to go about it- the ideas are brewing!
A few updates on what I’ve been sewing lately. This month’s colour sinchie challenge(Gatton Quilters Art Group) was to use the two colours orange and red. This is what I decided to do.
May- Orange and Red Sinchie Challenge
I used a piece of hand-dyed orange cotton I did in a workshop quite a few years ago -which I still have lots of and comes in handy quite often!- as the backing. I hand-sewed a cat to put on top- an orange and red striped tabby. I only used variations of orange and red in the block, but quite a few different values of those colours. It’s great fun to see what effect you can have but still only keep the limit to 2 colours.
I added a piece of silk sari ribbon scrap on the side and added more hand-sewn embellishment plus some hand-stitching to the right side. It was then finished off by just backing with some thin batting and zig-zagging around the edge. hence, Marmalade the cat!
I also had a lovely weekend staying at the Bunya Mountains with a group of sewing & crafting ladies. It is a beautiful place up there in the Bunyas and we had an excellent house for the stay. Lots of wallabies visited us, including this youngster who, despite Mum’s encouragement, didn’t want to leave home!
I took along the makings of a baby quilt. I had found a lovely animal panel which i cut up into the individual blocks and my plan is to sew those into a quilt surroundered by coloured pices and strips. The colourful fabric I used was from the ‘Story Collection’ by Carrie Bllomston, which I had admired for some time and was happy to have something to use it for!
I made some flying geese blocks and some quarter-square triangle blocks and cut strips and set about to put them altogether in a random fashion.
That quilt top is about half-made now, so hopefully I can get stuck into it and finish it off in the next few weeks.
And one last thing- this is the block for May for the do.Good.Stitches quilt that I am taking part in. This block was made by sewing together randomly-sized wedges of fabric to make a sort-of starburst block. Our instructions were to use bright colours which I think I did!
I started a stitching project this year, which was mentioned on Instagram. It’s called One Year of Stitches, with the idea being to do some hand-stitching every day. It can be as little as one stitch a day, or as much as you like, but by committing yourself to joining in you just have to do some every day. So far we are 16 weeks in, and this is where I am up to now:
Karen Mundt- One Year of Stitches 2017
I wanted to do a stitchery that was just made up as I went along with no theme, no playing by the rules with how you completed the stitches or worrying about producing a particular ‘picture’ at the end of it- an improvised piece of stitching!
It has certainly worked in getting me to do some stitching every day- I wouldn’t have had this much done by now if I had given in to those thoughts of ‘I’m too tired/ or can’t be bothered today’. Some days I do only a few stitches, some days a whole element, such as the birdhouse or a flower.
Here are a few photos to show the progress from the start of the year:
Karen – 9 Jan 2017
Karen – 25 Jan 2017
Karen – 21 Feb 2017
Karen – 25 Mar 2017
Karen – 10 Apr 2017
I’m using any stitches that I think of and playing with all my threads that I have bought over the years. Each day we are supposed to post a progress photo on Instagram (or other social media such as Facebook)- I changed that to posting every second day. If you are on Instagram do a search on #iyearofstitches and #iyearofstitches2017 to see images of all those taking part. My IG account name is littlebirdiequilting You’ll see all the different styles of stitching projects that people are doing- from cross-stitch to free-form to delicate silk embroideries.
Now I’m off to do today’s stitching- don’t know what I’ll do but something will come to me!
A little quilted 6inch square, in colours of orange and green and depicting something from the theme of flora and fauna. This is my contribution to that challenge.
Karen Mundt- Orange & Green Challenge
I really enjoy stitching more and more these days, so I look for the opportunity to incorporate it where I can. I also wanted to utilise fabrics that I coloured myself in hand-dye classes, so these factors were the starting points in creating this piece.
I arranged pieces of hand-dyed fabric on a backing piece of scrap cotton. When they seemed to be in just the right position, I used a drop of glue to keep them in place before taking the piece to the machine and sewing them down.
I just used a normal straight stitch with some clear thread. Because there was effectively a couple of layers of fabric there, I didn’t have to use any stabiliser so could start straight in with the hand-stitching.
I used 2 strands of green cotton thread and mainly running or back stitch and some knots. I stitched these free-hand, without drawing any outlines first. I try to avoid marking where ever possible, mainly because I worry about getting rid of the lines afterwards, especially if I don’t sew exactly on top of any marks. I also prefer a slightly rugged or naive look to stitching
These are various weeds and grasses, sewn against the landscape-y backdrop. To finish it off, I added another piece of fabric as a backing, then hand-stitched around the edge in a big running stitch using a couple of different threads. I knotted them on the top side and also left the raw edges.
I’ve been working on my little stitch sampler- a project that a group of us began last year under the very capable tutelage of Jan Knight. We had all professed a desire to practice our hand stitching and agreed that we could make a little stitch sampler book- something that was very popular in days gone by.
Karen- Stitch Sampler
The design of the sampler was up to the individual, as was the materials to be used. We also wanted it to be a means of exploration and ‘stretching’ the stitch. Jan would show us the basic stitches and then we could copy them and re-interpret them how we wished. I decided to make my pages out of pre-loved linens and soft fabrics. Each page would therefore be different, and probably a different size to each other. These are some of my pages.
I’m still finishing the pages so I’ll keep some to show you when all complete!
I’ve done each page in a wide horizontal shape which I then plan to fold in half into its own little ‘signature’, and put the next page back-to-back with it. I still have to work out how I will stitch the pages into the cover.
I have this old piece of a linen tablecloth which will be the cover, and which also needs some stitching on it.
At the recent quilters meeting, Marilyn showed the group her finished stitch sampler and its beautiful cover –
Marilyn- stitch sampler
…such an effective use of the bullion stitch.
I need to get back to stitching… see you next week!
This is a 6″square; a quilted close-up picture of a rose.
With the colours of this month’s challenge being white and yellow, I set myself a little challenge to see if I could recreate the picture using only shades of white. I found a photo of a white rose with the focus on its beautiful centre. I used a method of Upside Down Applique, which I learnt in an online course I did years ago with the now-defunct Quilt University. It’s the same method I used to create this flower picture, shown here on the blog back in August:
Frangipani- Karen Mundt
After taking a photocopy of the photo, I traced around all the little sections where the colour changed and worked out that I could create it with 4 shades of white, which I numbered 1 to 4. I used little bits of yellow for the darkest bits.
We always hear about lots of shades of white- winter white, warm white, bright white etc so when you line up a few against each other, it’s easy to be able to arrange them in order from ‘light’ to ‘dark.’
I traced the picture onto a piece of stabiliser and numbered all the pieces according to which shade of white was needed. I then used that to applique each little piece, sewing it down from the reverse side.
I started with the darkest pieces first, working on the rule that dark colours recede and lights advance. The darkest sections in the picture were in fact the deepest recesses of the curled petals. I added a piece of the darkest white fabric to all those spots, following the lines drawn on the stabiliser and therefore sewing from the back side – sort of like how we do foundation piecing. I used a clear monofilament thread in the bobbin and white thread in the needle, sewing exactly along the lines with an embroidery foot and dropped feed dogs.
Once each piece is sewn down it can be trimmed as close as possible to the sewing line, except those parts where one piece under-laps another piece yet to be added. I sewed all the Number 4 pieces and the yellow, then moved onto White #3, sewed all those, and so on down to White #2 and White #1.
As I sewed each piece, I coloured in that piece on my little drawing just to keep track of which bits had been sewn.
After all pieces are sewn down and the edges clipped,
I turned it around with the front facing up and then did lots of free-motion top-stitching with white thread around all the pieces. The little quilt was then backed and some last quilting done on top.
I added a little bit of dark pencil to create shadows and add dimension along some of the edges.
The flower-shape looks a little clearer when seen from a distance, as in the photo below taken with all of the quiltlets made by our quilt group at our recent meeting. One thing that I should have utilised more was the effect that was achieved in the white pieces that surroundered the small yellow pieces. The yellow created a shadow under the white, so in effect performed the role of another ‘colour’ to add to the variations.
You can see in the photo below the interpretations everyone came up with on the Flora & Fauna theme and only using white and yellow.
L-R, Row1: Helen H, Jan M, Meryl, Lyn; Row 2: Jan K, Shirley, Mine, Marilyn; Row 3(top) Cornelia, Trish, Helen S
Trish and Helen S
This next photo is a few quilts left from last month’s orange and white theme.
Clockwise from top left: Helen S, Shirley, Jan M, Meryl
I have a small project that is actually finished! I don’t feel like I get to say that often enough- an actual finish, yay! This is a little story cloth, stitched over quite a long while. I probably started it about 2 years ago, just working slowly and enjoying the process.
It is a stitched piece utilising re-purposed cloth and scraps, torn little bits from here and there. It has raw edges and loose threads…
…bits saved from here and there just added where they looked to fit. There was no plan- I would add one piece then stop and look before adding something else. I guess you could call it an improv cloth! Lots of hand-stitching was added to the top. Its title is Neighbourhood Watch.
It was enjoyable and comforting to work on; the feel of the cloth soft in my hands. I cut up one of my mum’s old pillow-cases, that must have been washed a thousand times in its life, to use as the background. My original inspiration for it was from following Jude Hill on Spirit Cloth, both on her blog and various online classes I’ve taken. I so love her work, and while mine doesn’t look anything like hers, I use her techniques and the inspiration she provides.
I bound it by using strips from fabric left over from the days of sewing my clothes; the frayed selvedges turned to the front and running stitches with perle cotton to keep them in place. I also lightly hand quilted, using the same thread with big stitches.
Truth be told, I’m a little sad it’s actually finished! I guess I’ll have to start another one….
My trip to rhe USA has so far been busy, full of movement and colours and neck-turning moments. We look like the typical tourists, heads looking up, laden sown with cameras and maps- but who cares!
In Los Angeles we visited the French General shop. Such beautiful things to look at-
Apart from the actual fabrics, there were lovely little haberdashery items..