Bead Embroidery

The International Quilt Festival in Houston was amazing, as always. It’s so incredibly inspiring to see all of the quilts and quilt-related pieces that people have made. It was the 40th anniversary of the International Quilt Festival, and as part of the celebration they had a huge collection of red and white quilts on display.

IQF-Ruby-Jubilee-Red-and-Wh

The classes I took there were great, too. I learned how to do reverse appliqué by machine, how to work in a single colour to make small collage quilts, and how to sew with silk. I also got some great tips on getting more productive time in my sewing room.

Since returning home, I have finally finished a little beading sampler that I started in a bead embroidery class in Houston 4 years ago. The class was taught by Nancy Eha, and was fun and informative. I came home with a partially completed sampler of beading stitches and techniques.

class-beading-sampler_002

I picked this up again last April, and started adding more beads. I have Nancy’s book, Bead Creative Art Quilts, to refer to, so I tried out a few more of the stitches and ideas in the book.

One of the techniques I learned in class was how to use bead embroidery to attach a cabochon to fabric. A cabochon is a stone with one flat side and no holes, so it has to be attached with plain or beaded stitching that circles the perimeter and tightens in as it is raised. I used this blue glass cab as the centre of a flower.

beaded-flower-with-cab_019

The squiggle in the middle of the sampler is a piece of rayon cord covered with beads. The cording is stitched to the fabric with a running stitch. Then the cord is covered with beads (page 27 in Nancy’s book). I was adding them in a fairly random fashion.

beaded-cording_006

I used a mixture of seed beads, bugle beads, and square beads.

beaded-cording-finished_025

We learned a number of ways to create dimension by stacking beads on top of each other. This wavy fence is made from bugle beads topped with loops of seed beads. They are attached to each other by having adjacent circles share a bead.

beaded-waving-fence_020

Here is a flower stitched with a grid of bugle beads and some seed beads. This photo also shows a few of the other bits of beading that we learned in class.

beaded-bugle-bead-flower_03

I stitched a snowflake using seed beads and thread (page 67) and sewed it onto the sampler.

beaded-snowflake_015

I thought that the beaded cord looked like a flower stem, so I stitched a few little curlicues branching off of it.

beading-sampler-progress_03

Of course, the flower stem needed a flower. I didn’t have much luck trying to sew one free-hand, so I drew one out on a piece of Golden Threads paper, pinned it to the fabric, and stitched over that.

beaded-flower-in-progress_0

It worked pretty well, although I found the paper a little bit hard to remove once the beading was finished.

beaded-flower-finished_043

At this point, I decided that there was enough beading, but there was some empty space that needed something in it.

beading-completed_045

I recently bought a couple of books on embroidery, one of which is The Stitches of Creative Embroidery by Jacqueline Enthoven. I thought that this piece was a great chance to try out a few stitches. There’s a whole section in the book on the chain stitch and different ways to use it (starting on page 121). This little fern is made from the basic chain stitch. A few straight stitches and French knots fill in the swirls.

embroidered-fern_054

I used chain stitch to surround the petals of my large beaded flower, too.

chain-stitching-around-flower

A single chain stitch (or Lazy Daisy stitch) makes nice tulips (page 127), as well as leaves.

embroidered-tulip_058

Some single chain stitches in lines of feather stitch makes grass (page 108).

embroidered-grass_056

All of the bead embroidery was done on fabric basted to a piece of batting. I added a backing fabric after the beading was finished. To hold the three layers together I quilted the sampler with curved lines of long running stitches using two strands of embroidery floss. I marked the lines first with a chalk pencil. When the quilting was finished, I trimmed off the excess backing and batting.

beading-sampler-before-facing

I decided to try a new-to-me method of finishing the edges of this piece. A long time ago I downloaded a free e-book from the Quilting Daily website that included a tutorial on using a facing to finish the edges of an art quilt (located here). The facing folds to the back of the quilt, with mitred corners and hand stitching along the edges to hold it down.

beading-sampler-facing_072

And at last, here is the finished sampler:

beading-sampler_068c

(as usual, click on the photos to enlarge them)

Advertisements

Little Red Fish

I’m going to the International Quilt Festival in Houston again this fall, and I’ve signed up for a couple of classes there. Going through this year’s class listings, I started thinking about the classes I’ve taken there in the past. I have some partly finished projects from those classes, and it seems like a good idea to dig those out and finish them. I have a bad habit of bringing things home from classes and putting them away, adding them to the stack of UFOs hidden in the closet.

This one is from two years ago. I took a class with Judith Baker Montano to learn how to make an under-the-sea piece using fabric and embroidery and various other embellishments. I’d done quite a lot there, but had not had enough time to finish it in class. I got out the partly finished piece and all of the materials from the class kit. Most of the background was done, and I decided that all I really needed to do to finish it was to add some embroidery and beading to the foreground.

This picture shows the work in progress, with some newly added embroidery. I’m not very experienced at embroidery, which made it hard to decide what to do. I followed some of the stitches in Judith Baker Montano’s book, Elegant Stitches. I definitely want to get more practice with embroidery, so that I have some experience to draw on when working on something like this.

Under-the-sea_08c

Originally the piece was supposed to end up being 7” by 10”, but I decided I’d make it smaller so it could become a page in my sketchbook of small quilts. I used a piece of card stock with a window cut into it to see how it would look trimmed down. 

Under-the-sea_04c

At this stage, it looked almost finished to me, but I thought it needed a focal point, so I added a bigger red fish to the foreground. I also added a few beads to the orange brain coral, and a bit more ribbon embroidery. Here’s a close-up of it, after I trimmed off some of the excess canvas.

Under-the-sea_28c

To finish the embroidered piece, I first hand-basted the edges through all of the layers of fabric. Then I used a small zigzag stitch to attach a length of textured yarn all the way around.

Under-the-sea_34c

Here it is, all ready to mount on a quilted background.

Under-the-sea_36c

The final task was to make the quilted 8” by 8” page to mount it on. I chose some batik fabric for the front that I thought looked a bit watery.

Under-the-sea_37c

For the back, I used a piece of batik that had shells and other sea critters on it. I layered the two fabrics with batting in between, and quilted around the shells, filling the spaces in between with some free-motion doodles. This is a fun way to get in some free-motion practice. Next, I used a couple of rounds of zigzag stitching to finish off the edges.

Under-the-sea_40c

I mounted the embroidery piece on the quilted page with a straight line of machine stitching, and finished off by adding the grommets so I could add it to my sketchbook. Here it is, all finished.

Under-the-sea_44c

I have a couple more class pieces I’d like to finish off before the end of October rolls around. I’ll post them here when they’re done.

What I Did On My Fall Vacation

I suppose I should say “vacations” since there were actually two of them. The first one was my annual trip to Rhinebeck, NY, to meet with friends and to attend the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival. The second one was a trip to Houston, TX, with friends, to attend the International Quilt Festival for the fourth time.

I’m afraid I didn’t take any pictures on the first trip. I can’t explain that omission, other than to say that I was having too much fun. I took the train from Toronto on the Wednesday before the festival weekend, and enjoyed the following two days catching up with everyone, and making a few visits to area shops and restaurants. Saturday and Sunday were spent at the Festival. Monday was the long train ride home. We rented a house in the Rhinebeck area for the second time and it worked out very well once again. It allowed for a lot more comfortable visiting than staying in a hotel does, plus group meals and assorted other food preparation. It was a wonderful trip, made all the better by being able to meet with friends that I otherwise only see on Ravelry.

I didn’t buy much at the fairgrounds, just a few skeins of sock yarn intended for making shawls and fingerless mittens.

Rhinebeck-purchases_0001

The yarns are (from left to right): Holiday Yarns Flocksock sock yarn in Pinot; Cephalopod Yarns Skinny Bugga! sock yarn in Other Mother, and Golden Tortoise Beetle; and undyed Hudson Valley Sheep & Wool Co. sock yarn.

My second fall trip began only eight days after getting home from the first one. After a big rush of catching up with laundry and errands, not to mention sleep, and some tense hours worrying about Tropical Storm Sandy, I was on a plane to Houston.

We arrived on Tuesday (Oct. 30) and got settled into the hotel. I took 3 classes on this visit to the Quilt Festival, and attended 3 lectures. In between I shopped and looked at quilts – such amazing quilts!

Here are some of the results of the classes I took:

classes_Quilt-Festival-2012

From left: “Applipiecing” Curves, taught by Caryl Bryer Fallert; “Under the Sea” fabric manipulation and embroidery (not yet finished), taught by Judith Baker Montano; and “Heavy Metal Play Day” (embossing metal for art quilts), taught by Judy Coates Perez.

I also attended a lecture on “The Elements of Art Quilting” by Lyric Kinard, and one on Modern Quilting by Heather Grant. Both were great – interesting and enlightening. The Modern Quilting lecture was eye-opening for me – I realized that this is a style of quilt that interests me a lot, and that I’d like to explore in the future. (Check out the Modern Quilt Guild blog to see what I’m talking about.)

I think I overdid it with classes and lectures this year – by the time I got to the last one I was a bit brain-fogged and saturated, and was glad the class wasn’t too demanding. In the future, I think I should allow for more free time, and fewer early mornings!

I didn’t buy a lot at on this trip, either, but here is a picture of what I did buy:

Purchases_Quilt-Festival-20

On the left are some pieces of Thai silk, in the middle are some half-yards of fabric from Marcia Derse, and on the right are some fat quarters of Cherrywood fabric in a yummy array of colours. In front are a couple of strands of beads, and a skein of embroidery floss from ArtFabrik, which are dyed by Laura Wasilowski. I seem to be in an orange and purple phase of stash enhancement. I wonder if that means anything?

I also want to mention that I sewed a new bag for myself to use at Quilt Festival. I wanted something small that would hold essentials. I’d seen a leather bag at Roots that I liked, so I decided to copy it in fabric. I’ll probably write a blog post about the making of this bag, but I thought I’d show it off here.

Small-bag-finished_0004

It has a long strap to sling the bag across my body, and both outside and inside pockets to hold everything. It worked out perfectly.

Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and reflect on all that I’ve seen and done in the past few weeks. And to sleep late, rest up, and recover from this jet-set lifestyle. And maybe rake some leaves or something.