Sunday, November 25, 2012

People get so hung up on a making a project  perfect.  It is so much more fun to have a dialogue with your project, sometimes it speaks to you while you are asleep, or at the art museum and you have an "ah ha!" moment and can move on to the next step.  The hardest part of this quilt was figuring out how to teach someone who can't draw, how to make realistic animal designs with felted appliques.  That eureka moment came when I learned how to make stencils from my patterns.

I sent the Wannabees (above) to a quilt show in Oregon this summer and the comment that came back from the judges, was that I should be more careful at the beginning and endings of my quilting stitches.  (I have no idea what they are talking about!) It didn't matter to them that I was quilting a large 6 lb. quilt on my HOME SEWING MACHINE and that the quilting was not the outstanding feature of the quilt.  They didn't seem to notice that I was doing something that nobody else is doing with my 2-D and 3-D realistic felted appliques. The quilt came home with its tail between its legs because it didn't win a ribbon.  It has been sulking ever since.

That makes me hesitant to quilt the New Flock (above) even though  I don't plan on sending it out to competitions.  It's job is to sell patterns when we are vending at shows. This quilt top is a smaller project at 31" x 37", and yet people are still asking for a smaller project to start.

There is a group in Delaware that wants me to teach a class in Felted Applique and they thought Designer Seashells would be a fun pattern to try, so I made up a small sample.  It didn't work.  I think it is because they don't have eyes, so I researched fish in Delaware waters and they are almost poisonous, the waters are so polluted.  I saw warnings about only eat them once a month or, good grief, once every three months.  Then I thought of doing a seagull...they are abundant along the shore and they would be a unique theme to try.

This is a close up in the center of the New Flock of Sheep (at right).  This shows the 3-D effect that you can achieve by putting more roving down the center of the face to make it a bas (pronouced Baah! like sheep say, meaning low) relief.  The embroidery is done using six basic stitches.  When you combine them, feather and colonial (a variation of French knots) stitches they make symbols of flowering plants, not copious copies.  If you take two different orange size 5 pearl cotton threads and make a colonial stitch in a tree, you've got peaches.  The more you do the embroidery, the more observant you become and the ideas keep flowing.  I usually change colors of green when the thread runs out when I make grasses or weeds. Once you have the techniques you are only limited by your ingenuity. There is so much to learn, and try. It doesn't always end up in success, but that is part of the learning experience. You learn from your mistakes too.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Choosing colors

This past two weeks or so, I have been working with my niece, who is also my graphic designer, designing a banner to hang in our booth at quilt shows.  We collaborated to get the finished design to the printer.  My major in college was Fabric Design...before computers, Katherine's major was Graphic Design with courses in Illustrator.  For me to learn Illustrator would be a steep learning curve.  We started out with the purpose of the banner: to explain why our patterns are loved by our customers.  I wrote the benefits and she designed the layout which went through quite a lot of changes.  Without trying to hurt her feelings, I asked her why she chose the background colors she chose.  She replied that choosing colors was not her forte.  I suggested that she look at  She suggested that I research the colors I wanted.  I came up with this as my first choice:
I loved how the animals looked in silhouette, but Paul, my husband, wanted the detail lines on the animals and we all decided that the white animals with gray lines looked best.  With that color combination and many changes this is what the banner will look like:
I highly recommend using whenever you have to come up with a good looking color combo that suits your project.  In fact, wandering around on that website will train you to be more observant when you look at your world.  It took me a few tries to figure it out.  I copied the address of the combos and the names to put in an enmail to Katherine...but I was forgetting what I was liking.  I then pinned it into a board on my account using the "pin it" button, next to the color combos.  That way I could see all my colors side by side.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Crows pattern is launched!

I don't know what took so long.  Usually it doesn't take a month to finish writing a pattern, but I guess I wasn't as focused as I usually am.  The Crows pattern has 17 pages, seven pages of which are of crows drawings and one page of feather drawings for the quilting in the border.  Crows pattern is up on our website ready to fly to your house as a PDF pattern or a printed snail mailed pattern.