Friday, October 7, 2016

Week in Review 2016 - 10/07

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

The first few rays of the sunset
scene in Siren's Song are quilted.
I am using quilter's tape to guide
my stitching. I opted to use a
clear monofilament thread in the
top since each straight line crosses
over quite a range of colors. I am
using an orange, Bottomline thread
in the bobbin. This way teeny tiny
pricks of orange can be seen in the
stitch line. My theory is that it will
add to the glow of the scene.
Yesterday, as I prepped the sunset image in Siren's Song for quilting, I realized I was using a marking technique that I turn to rarely, but that was my primary technique back when I hand quilted all my work. I wonder if anyone who started quilting after the 90's is even familiar with it. I use quilter's tape to mark long straight lines. Why? Unlike marking tools, such as inks that wash out, chalk that brushes away or faint pencil lines, I can see the masking tape clearly AND it is very easy to permanently remove WHEN I am ready to remove it. The adhesive isn't so strong that residue remains behind, but it is strong enough to stay where I put it and to reuse multiple times or to reposition as needed. 

If only positioning Siren's Song inside the Bernina's harp was easier, I would have been thrilled with this method. Why use my small sewing machine when I am fortunate to have a much larger machine, the George, by APQS? The George only does one thing and it does it very well, that is free motion quilting. I want truly straight lines and those are best achieved with a walking foot, and I have one of those for the Bernina. 

The week was a mixed bag of stitching as you will see:

1)  Continue quilting Siren's Song - Done!

I did a mix of free motion quilting in the background and straight-line rays in the image. It was an abbreviated week in the studio, but some progress was made.

2) Free motion quilting practice - Done!

See above.

3) Do some surface design work - Done!

The fabric is a Leah Day design. I like
to have something fun to practice my
stitches on. This way I have odd shaped
segments to try out various stitches
and lots of lines to see which outline
stitch like best. I keep my Embroiderer's
companion just has handy as my
thread and scissors. 
I did some hand stitching practice as part of the Stitch seminar I am taking through SAQA. I am really loving the look of the Palestrina stitch for outlines. It creates a line of continuous knots that almost form a diamond shape. I experimented with #8 pearl cotton this week. In the past I've used floss for embroidery. It tends to snag, tangle and separate, especially if you are using multiple strands for thickness. The #8 pearl cotton has the right density and I find it glides through stitch creation with less hassle than floss.
4) Beware of when I find myself shutting down and find a way to stay open. - Done!

I have been terrified of quilting the sunset image in Siren's Song. It is the focal point of the piece. I don't want the stitching to detract from the image. I find that photos printed on fabric change the hand of the fabric and don't allow the threads that separate when punched with a needle or basting pin to return after the needle/pin is removed. The holes remain noticeable. So, mistakes can't be removed without leaving traces. Procrastination due to panic isn't wise, either. First, the longer I fret, the more the terror of starting builds up. Second, it is not wise to quilt around a section, turning it into a island in the middle of quilting. This is because the layers surrounding the "island" have nowhere to shift and expand, leading to puckers in the quilting. Strong as my desire not to face quilting the photo was, I knew I had to push through and begin. 

I'm looking forward to next week, when I hope to finish quilting that traumatizing photo and move on to less nail biting work. My plan is to:

1)  Continue quilting Siren's Song

2) Free motion quilting practice

3) Do some surface design work

4) Beware of when I find myself shutting down and find a way to stay open.

I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.


  1. wowie! thank you lots for the link to hand embroidery by Mary Corbet. I have just watched five of her demos and am so enthused to go try them!!! I would not have known about them if not for your post. LeeAnna

  2. I use a strip of blue painters tape when I'm quilting straight lines, just for the first line so at least I get started straight. I like the idea of the little orange dots from the bobbin thread giving the piece a glow.

  3. I think quilting the sun rays is a great idea and it will contrast nicely with the intricate FMQ in the background.
    You are right - I have never even heard of quilter's tape ))) but I can see from this example that it's a useful tool, will look for it, do you think painter's tape could be used instead?

  4. Gosh, this piece is just better and better as the quilting is added......can't wait to see it finished. You have a winner here!

  5. Love the fact that you recognize the first signs of procrastination/avoidance and face it was determination. I, too, know the fear, the fretting, and the build up of negative emotions when facing something a little outside my comfort zone. Your action plan is so strong that I look forward to seeing the success that will come with your next post! Thanks also for posting on my blog.

  6. I know of the tape method of marking but have never used it, fearing that in our dry climate the tape would be hard to remove if I left it on too long. Also, I've never bought quilter's tape -- only painter's tape. Will have to investigate, as it might be easier than marking and then trying to rely on the long metal guide that attaches to my walking foot. And I am comforted by your words about a FMQ-only machine. I don't do enough FMQ (at present) to justify investing in a machine that does only that. :-)