Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wool applique tutorial

I've been thinking about this tutorial and discussing techniques with some of my friends and what I've discovered is that everyone seems to have a different method of working with wool.

I thought I would show you some of these methods because, what works for me, might not be what works for you and vice-versa. By no means am I an expert on this subject but I thought I'd share what I know because I really enjoy it. I have to say that the hardest part of the whole process is cutting into a new piece of wool.

Since some of you have emailed me asking where to start building a stash of wool, I talked to Karen at Farmhouse Woolens about putting together a "sampler pack". (probably about 10 different colors measuring about 10" x 10"). She should have something up on her blog or her webstore in the next few days.

So, here we go...

You will be using one of these products to trace your shapes. I'm going to be using freezer paper, but you can also use fusible webbings like the ones pictured. (Remember, if you use a fusible, you will have to reverse your pattern pieces.)

Freezer paper has a dull side and a shiny side. Trace your pieces on the dull side. I use a permanent market (like a Sharpie) so that I don't have to worry about my ink bleeding on my wool.

The pattern is on the left, traced pieces on the right. Cut out the pieces 1/4" from the traced line.

Position them on the wool.

Iron pieces (shiny side down). Use the "wool" setting on your iron. The pieces will adhere but won't be permanent. You can reposition them if you need to. You can also re-use them a couple more times.

Cut out on drawn line. I use whatever sharp scissors I have around. I sometimes use smaller scissors on the little pieces.

Depending on your background color, you might want to put your pattern under a light box to position your pieces.

There are many ways to "glue" your pieces onto the background. I use the Roxann's Glue Baste-it, pictured on the far right.

Start with the pieces that will be under other pieces. I run a small line of glue on the background using the pattern and light box as a guide.

Position your cut piece on the glue line. Continue with the remaining pieces.

Sometimes I leave the freezer paper on the piece when I'm positioning it because it provides a bit of stability. Just peel it off when you're finished.

When it's all glued down,

I do this... Now don't laugh! I lay it flat on my table and put something heavy on it and leave it all night. This allows time for the glue to dry and the pressure makes it nice and flat when I'm ready to start stitching it down. I know....I'm weird. LOL

Time to start stitching. Here are some of the threads I use. The number of strands I use or the thickness of the thread just depends on the look I'm after.

I blanket stitched the vase and used a whip stitch on the rest of the design. You could also do a small running stitch close to the edge of the wool. Actually, whatever stitch you use is just fine. Just do whatever is easiest for you. There aren't any rules and the Wool Police won't arrest you...I promise.

I had a question about what to use to mark on the wool. You might be doing this if you wanted to do some embroidery on your design. These are my favorites. Sometimes one marker works better than another.
So, there you go.. Wasn't that easy? If you have other methods that work for you, please be sure and leave a comment for others to see. You might make me change a technique or two myself.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Try, try, again

Last November I showed you a bunch of UFO's that I was going to work on by "power sewing". Well this project was one that I never got around to. This week I decided to tackle it. It's called Stars Around the Garden and there were two blocks that I wanted to re-d0. Here's the "before" picture. I didn't like the way the two with the light grey/greens turned out. They were jumping out at me screaming..."change me, change me"! I probably don't need to point them out, but in case you're wondering, the first one is the second row, far right, and the other one is in the third row, center.

This is the "after" picture with an additional new block at the bottom. Unfortunately, the road getting to this picture was not smooth at all.

This is one of the ones I didn't like, so I gathered up my fabrics, picked out what looked like a great combination and started cutting and sewing.

And this is what I came up with. It doesn't look too bad in this picture, but when I had it on the design wall, you couldn't tell what the pattern was supposed to all! I called hubby into the room and asked him which block he thought looked better. Unfortunately..he said the first one. He said this one looked like 2 rectangles intersecting. Well, as much I didn't want him to be right....I knew he was. So, off to the drawing board...or fabric pull more fabrics. This time I paid attention to know, that thing that our beginning quilting teacher taught us?

Came up with this one. I know you're going to say that this looks just like the first one that I didn't like, but trust me, it really doesn't. I'm much happier with it.

Then I got gunshy about remaking the second block. I agonized over my color choices because I didn't want to have to remake it more than once.

So, here it is and I'm happy with it, so it's going to stay! I have to say that sometimes it's just worth buying a kit from a store! LOL. Only 4 more blocks to make and then I can start on the center.

These are the two finished versions of the quilt. I still haven't decided which one I'm going to do, but right now I'm leaning toward the one with the applique on the borders. I'm planning on doing all the applique in wool.

Oh, speaking of wool, in the next couple of days, I plan to do a tutorial on working with wool. If you have anything you want me to address, just let me know and I'll try to find the answers if I don't have them.

One more thing... many of you have posted comments and asked me a question. I try to answer each of them, but if you haven't set up your email , then I can't get back to you. I don't want anyone to think I'm ignoring their questions and Purple and Paisley has a great post on how to set it up. Go on over there and see if that helps you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mail call

I have some reading material for tonight!

I love this little newspaper from Country Threads. It's full of recipes, news about the shop, stories about all the animals around the farm, etc. It's just really fun reading. You can subscribe and get 4 issues per year.

FINALLY! I got the current issue of Country Sampler magazine. I hate it when it hits the newstands before subscribers get theirs. I won't even glance at it in the stores because I want to savor each page when I get mine in the mail.

Well, look whose house is featured.... why it's Linda from Behind My Red Door. Go on over to her blog and you can see more pictures of her beautiful house. How fun for her to be in a national publication. Way to go, Linda. Your house is wonderful!

Then, I got a really nice present from Kathie. She did a post about using "ecology cloth" and I'd never heard of it. I had to Google it to see what it was and then I posted a comment on her blog. She wrote me back and offered to send me a yard to try. Well, that just made my day! This blogging community is so generous. Thank you Kathie!

Finally, I just had to take a picture of my computer screen when this word came up as the word verification on a comment I was making. I truly laughed out loud. I mean... thinize? Does that mean "to make thinner"? Sharon...maybe you should use this for your "losers". Anyway, I just thought I'd share a bright spot in my day. Now I'm off to bed to go READ!!! (I'm really not shouting....just excited!)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Freezing Fog

Or "Hoar Frost" as it's called around here. (maybe around your area too).

When DH and I moved here, the first winter we had this phenomenon and must have taken 100 pictures. It's so neat to see. We've had fog for the past 2 days with temps in the 20's , so it just settles on the branches forming tiny ice crystals. It is crystal clear above the fog, and the sun is trying to peek through today, so it will probably be gone this afternoon.

Looks like a flocked Christmas tree, huh?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Gees Louise

Can you see that top window? Well, it's shattered and it happened all by itself this morning with no one even in the same room! Hubby was taking a shower and I was downstairs quietly sitting at the computer when I heard a big crash.

My first thought was that Jack had knocked something over. I looked in every room and didn't see anything out of place. I asked DH if he heard anything and he said "yes". I told him I couldn't find Jack and he told me that Jack was outside on the deck.

So, I looked on the deck and there was Jack looking up at the broken window. I thought a bird had flown into the window, but the closer I looked, I realized that the outside window was intact and it was the inside (double paned) glass that exploded. Have you ever heard of such?
We had a couple of contractors come out and they both said that the window frame is bent and it's probably from the house settling. Called the manufacturer (Milgard Windows) who informed us it's not covered under the lifetime warranty. Of course not....when is a problem EVER covered under the warranty?

Needless to say, we're glad no one was sitting in the chair under the window because the shards of glass looked like lethal weapons. (I didn't think to grab the camera until after we had cleaned up the pieces). We're also glad that Jack was safe and sound outside wondering "what the heck?" If we hadn't seen him looking up at the window, I don't know when we would have figured out what happened! LOL. Our own Jack Bauer saved the day! (By the way...that's really his full name).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

One for the money, two for...

ME! Well, actually, one isn't really for the money, it's been for a gift, but the second one really is for me. I've started making myself one of whatever I make for a gift.

So, I know you've seen this quilt before, but you really haven't seen THIS quilt before because I just finished quilting it for myself. I made 2 of these during my "power sewing" days before Thanksgiving and gave one to Patty for Christmas. I was her Secret Santa. I never had time to quilt the one for me, it's done and it's mine...all mine!

Here's another little one that I made 2 of. I gave the other one to my friend Janet (aka Myrtle) for her birthday last year. I quilted mine this week. I really don't like the quilting process, but I refuse to pay a $40 minimum fee on a quilt that only measures 15" x 15". I also figure these little guys are perfect for practicing on. Maybe the practice will make me start to enjoy quilting. Probably not, but it's a good thought anyway! This one is my own pattern.

Here's the same setting and I thought it would look cute in some brighter fabrics, maybe for Valentine's day. I'm not sure I'm liking the white background, so I might opt for red. Hmm, maybe I should make TWO!
Here's another little one that I made. They really are fun since they are so quick and easy. I must be into "quick and easy" lately!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Now that was fun!

Block #1 of Bunny Hill Designs, A Tisket a Tasket...FINISHED! Okay everyone, this is a fun, fast and easy project to tackle. I picked out my wool, cut out the pieces and glued them down to the background in about an hour last night. Stitched them today and voila! Use whatever method of applique you like to do and have at it! For those of you who have never used wool, next month I'll try to remember to take pictures as I go along and do a little tutorial for you. Sorry I didn't do it this time but I didn't think about it until I read some of your comments and emails asking me how to work with wool. It's me! So, now you know that you can get these blocks done in no time. If you haven't downloaded the 1st month and signed up for Anne's newsletter to get the rest of the months, just click on the widget on my sidebar or the link at the beginning of this post and it will take you right to the pattern.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A FREE Block of the Month!

Yes, you heard me right...a FREE block of the month. It's being offered by Anne at Bunny Hill Designs and even though it's a "mystery", if you know Anne at all, you'll know that you're going to find adorable critters in each little basket. The only clue she is sharing is that the baskets will be the same basket for the 12 months but there will be a new little surprise tucked in each basket. I've seen a "sneak preview" and I can tell you that they are all adorable. So, head on over to her web site and click on the icon and it will take you right to the pages to download. I'm going to do it in wool. Anyone want to join me?

And now for an update to the weather report. Here are the "after" shots. (see last post). It's hard to tell how much snow we got because the wind was blowing so hard and it was pretty light, fluffy snow. Hubby thinks we got about 1/2 inch with the deeper spots being "drifts". Who knows? All I know is that we certainly didn't get the 4 - 8 inches that was predicted. (In all fairness though, the weather alert downgraded to 3 - 5 inches after I posted to my blog. Big deal - LOL).
Well, it's all melted now and we're warming up to possibly 50 today but I'm sure there will be more winter storm warnings in our future!!! Gosh, I can hardly wait.

Now, hurry on over to Anne's and see what's in store for you...for FREE!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Another deadline and a winter storm warning

It's time to post Block 2 of Jan Patek's Girl Gang that I'm doing with Karen. Is anyone out there doing this one too? If so, you can join us by posting your completed blocks on the 5th of the month. (I know, I's the 4th not the 5th! Just call me an overachiever.)

The large block at the bottom is Block 1. The rest are all part of Block 2. Those hearts call for little black circles to be applique'd on them but I didn't really like they way they look. So for now...they aren't going on.

Here's Block #2 (on the bottom) of Wool Garden from Farmhouse Woolens. I think Block 3 is on it's way, so I'm glad to be caught up with this one. (When I went to the site to link it to you, I see that there's a SALE going on. Hurry on over there because it ends on the 10th.Wheee)

Now...on to the storm warning. If you live in snow country, you probably know that these warnings can sometimes be a big bust! We've had lots of times when they call for us to get alot of snow only to have a few flurries in the air. So, I'm showing you what we had on Christmas Eve and what we have now. Then, I'll take a picture of what we "get" with this storm and we'll see how accurate the forecasters are this time. They are calling for us to get between 4 - 8 inches.

Christmas Eve. That's an 18 inch ruler and it shows 12 inches of snow. We actually got 14 but I didn't get a picture of it.

Same location taken this afternoon.

Another view on Christmas Eve.
Same view today.

Okay, let's see what it looks like tomorrow. Hope everyone is having a good start to their New Year.