Monday, September 30, 2013

Autumn Leaf Quilt Block

I've been mulling over making an autumn leaf themed quilt - just not sure if I want to jump into something big right now, though!  So as a compromise, I worked on a quilt block this weekend.  I love quilt blocks - sort of like the granny squares of the sewing world!  One can work on them as you have time and eventually you have enough to put the quilt together with.  This one uses scraps of fabric for the leaves and embroidery to give it a bit more texture and interest.

I used a clear blue for the background - I just love how bright autumn leaves look against blue skies!  I think I must have taken a bajillion photos of that!

*scraps of autumn leaf colored print fabric
*background fabric - a 12x12 inch piece for each block
*Steam-a-Seam II Lite
*embroidery floss and needle

1.  Print out the leaf pattern from my past Leaf Art Coasters blog post.  Cut out and fold in half down the middle.

2.  Place on a blank piece of paper and trace, adding 1/4 inch in the middle for a seam and making the stem a bit fatter.

3.  Put two fabrics wrong sides together, pin pattern on the top, and cut out.

4.  Pin right sides of the leaf together and sew in a 1/4 inch seam.

5.  Press seam open and iron front smooth.

6.  Peel the backing off one side of Steam-a-Seam II and press the leaf to the adhesive.

7.  Set a piece of plain paper over the leaf and turn over.

8.  Cut out.

9.  Peel the other backing off and iron onto the front of a 12 x 12 inch piece of background fabric.

10.  Using 6 strands of embroidery floss, sew around the outside edges in a blanket stitch.  Use embroidery stitches to highlight different parts of the prints, varying between using 6 and 3 strands.

Now we'll see how long it takes me to get enough blocks for a quilt!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Inspiration - Autumn Themed Quilting

Ahh, autumn!  I love this season - the leaves, apples, pumpkins, the two autumn holidays and the build up to Christmas .... even though we're in Phoenix during most of autumn, we usually get to see the season in New England and the Pacific Northwest.  And we do get to see changing leaves here also - it just doesn't usually happen until around Thanksgiving!

I came across these three autumn themed quilts that are gorgeous!  Actually, each of these artists have some amazing quilt work on their websites - definitely worth a look!

The color variation and shading on this pumpkin quilt by Australian artist Lisa Davis is beautiful!  And the stitching adds nice dimension.

I've been interested lately in quilts that use printed fabrics in interesting combinations and this quilt by Japanese artist Akiko Wakata from Phyllis Dobbs post on the 2011 Houston Quilt Market is a good example.  Very different prints, but they all work together so well.  And I love how the red of the leaves makes them pop forward from the cooler yellow background.  I haven't been able to find a website for Akiko but will keep looking!

Ellen Lindner's quilt Ripening is another good example.  The blues in the background are all different prints, but come together as a perfect backdrop to the leaves and berries.  Beautiful!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Thinking of Christmas ...

Is it too early to be thinking of Christmas?!  I have all these ideas for autumn and Halloween fiber projects .... and here I am knitting Christmas dish cloths.  Eating a candy cane.

I saw this leftover giant skein of Christmas colored worsted weight cotton in my stash yesterday (it's from Bernat)  and all I wanted to do is sit and knit with it!  And actually, I made a new discovery - I wanted dishcloths that were more loosely knit than worsted weight cotton usually ends up so I grabbed a pair of size 10 1/2 needles to see what that would do.  Wow!  Soft, fluffy, and luxurious feeling - I could wrap myself in it!  These are done with 35 cast on stitches and straight knitting until I ended up with a square.

So now I'm trying some for washcloths .....

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sunflower Inspired Afghan Finish

Summer's gone and my sunflower afghan is finished ... I used a cotton/linen blend (Knitpick's Cotlin) so it should be a good weight for Arizona this autumn and for Oregon next summer.  See this post for the motif and this post for joining the squares together.

I wanted this to be a lap sized afghan - something the right size for snuggling up with on the sofa - so I made it 10 by 6 squares in size.  After all squares were connected it looked like this.

To add the edging, attach Swan in one of the corners, chain three (counts as one double crochet), and make two more double crochets.

The next part is similar to when you were attaching the squares together.  Skip the next two stitches and make one group of three double crochets.  Skip the next three stitches and make another group of three double crochets.  Continue in this way across the first square, then make a group of three double crochets in the chain three space and in the corner of the next square.  Continue across the whole edge until you reach the corner.  For the corner, make three double crochets, chain two, and make three more double crochets.  Continue around the whole afghan, slip stitching in the top of the first chain you made to join.  Finish off.

Add one more round of edging with Butter the same way you completed the first round.

And this morning we actually are at 64 degrees here in Phoenix - I really did finish the afghan just in time!  Happy Autumn! 

Maple leaves on our Oregon farm

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Inspiration - McCall's Halloween Look Book

Well,it's that time of the year again when we're racking our brains figuring out how to put together the costumes our creative kids and grandchildren come up with!  When my boys were growing up there were a few wild ones to get put together - a yellow bird (never figured out where that one came from as it wasn't Big Bird) and a hairy, scary monster ... 

This year little c wants to be Princess Leia.  One would think that with Disney buying Star Wars, there would be a re-release of the characters' patterns, but no it's time to be creative!  She's been sporting the hair style lately and I have a few ideas on the dress - stayed tuned!

If you or your little one needs some help on figuring out who/what to be this Halloween, McCall's has their 2013 Halloween Look Book out and it's gorgeous!  I love the Merida outfit - almost makes me want one for myself!  And the little fairies are darling.

As for me, I'm off in search of a white knit fabric with a just right drape ....

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Craftsman Gingko Table Scarf

A few months ago while researching Craftsman fiberart designs, I came across this antique table scarf from the early 1900's done at Stickley's (see more about him here) Craftsman Workshops.  Here's my version of it!

*linen - how long your scarf is depends on what type of table you're planning on using it for
*green fabric for the leaves - I used different shades of ice dyed fabric
*green size 5 perle embroidery cotton
*white embroidery floss
*Steam-a-Seam II Lite
*Gingko leaf pattern
   Print pattern in landscape

1.  Hem the edges of the linen - see this past post for how to make a mitered hem.

2.  Trace pattern onto Steam-a-Seam II Lite 15 times.  Attach to wrong side of green fabric and cut out the leaf shapes.

3.  Fold and lightly iron the linen into quarters to help you place the gingko leaves symmetrically.

4.  Attach leaves at each end and in the middle.  Iron into place.

5.  Embroidery around the edges of each leaf using a blanket stitch.  Draw in the stem lines and small triangles.

6.  Sew solid triangles using the white embroidery floss.

7.  Using a straight edge, draw a line across each end - 1 inch up from the bottom and 1 inch in from each side.  The original also had a line embroidered across each long side, but I felt it looked too boxy on mine so I only included the short edge line.

8.  Embroider along stem lines, around the white triangles, and along the bottom lines with an outline stitch.

Here are two views of the finished scarf:

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Inspiration - Fiber Art Jewelry

My usual reaction to most fiber art jewelry is, "Wow - that's really cool looking but I can't imagine actually wearing it!"  I've been searching for small gift ideas, though, and found three that are intriguing - beautiful and wearable!

Leslie Andersen has a great tutorial on how to make these braided fabric charm bracelets.  These would be fun to personalize for gifts!

I love the millefiori look of these fabric pins by Meg Hannan!  They use scraps of fabric and trims and, best of all, she tells us how to make them here!

I'm not sure if I've ever seen crocheted jewelry that I've loved until this piece by Sigrita on Etsy.  Unfortunately no instructions, but it is for sale!  It's done in linen, which seems perfect for these delicate leaves.

Happy Creating!  Deborah