By: Pat Sloan
I am a crafter… there … the truth is out! I have done some sort of ‘making of things’ all my life. Most of it I taught myself, as my family does not have any crafty types in it.
But my mom is so amazing that she bought me whatever I wanted in the way of craft supplies. So I was able to try a lot of things. This is my embroidery book. I used it to teach myself all kinds of amazing stitches and I’m so happy to still have it.
This is my childhood embroidery basket. Being a child of the late 60s and early 70s a bold PLASTIC basket was the in thing to have… it’s sure durable!
In the world of quilting we don’t work just with fabrics cut and pieced together… oh no… we love to ADD to that fabric with amazing embroidery! There are many types of embroidery. Today I’m touching on three areas and have two guests sharing about their particular embroidery passion.
First up is a Q & A with Bari J. of Bari J. Designs and the popular “We Love French Knots” blog. I thought she was perfect to give us some insider tips! She has videos on her “WLFK” blog as well.. so you’ll want to cruise over there.
Embroidery with Bari J.
What are the common thread weights you like to do embroidery with?
It really depends on the project and what effect I might be going for or if I need to fill in a large space. However, I do use a lot of Cosmo multi-work which is a two strand floss. Honestly, I can’t figure out what the weight is according to the packaging. I also like the Aurifil Sashiko which is a 30 weight. (Stay tuned to the end folks.. you could WIN some of this amazing thread!)
What size needles do you use?
I use a size ten for most of my work. However, if you are going to use perl cotton you’ll need a needle with a bigger eye.
What fabrics do you like for the base of your design? Do you back the fabric with a interfacing or a batting?
I use a lot of plain old quilt weight cotton. I do put interfacing on the back of the fabric. I use form flex which is a light weight woven cotton fusible.
What is your favorite way to transfer designs?
I love the product, transfer-eze. You print your design out, it sticks to the top of your work, you stitch right through and then dissolves in water when you are finished. I also like to use a light box and frixion pens.
When is it important to hoop your work?
For many stitches, using a hoop is nearly imperative in my opinion. This is so that your stitches are nice and tight (not too tight) and not loopy and bumpy. However, there are stitches that are best done without the use of a hoop like the bullion stitch.
When you’re done, what are the ways you like to use the embroidery?
I like embroidery on pillows and in quilts and I especially like to use it on a smaller item such as a bag. The work is so small and intricate I think it makes a great impact on small projects.
Here at the Quilting Gallery we have a great series of posts by Lenna Green. She wrote and video taped an entire series on embroidery … check out her posts.
This year I’m the host for Aurifil’s Designer of the Month mystery blocks. And the featured style is embroidery!! Bari J. is one of our upcoming designers. And we already have four fabulous FREE blocks for you to download and print!
Find all the interviews and download the patterns here. Plus read how you can get in on a chance to win Aurifil thread!
When we first announced our Learning Center topics we received a lovely note from Connie Eyberg about crazy quilting. Since Crazy Quilting is Connie’s passion I asked her to guest post about it today!
Crazy Quilting is one of America’s earliest quilt styles. It gained popularity in the 1800s through the early 1900s (roughly 1876-1910) and is a style of quilting associated with the Victorian quilts. It is easy to identify a crazy quilt by the use of irregular shaped patches in various sizes joined together in a random manner with no pattern in particular; it is then embellished with decorative stitching.
The seams were embroidered with intricate stitches and some areas on the quilts were then adorned with fine stitchery and sometimes painted designs. Originally stitched by wealthy women using fancy fabrics such as silks, velvets or brocades, women of lower income were soon creating their own crazy quilts through the use of castoff clothing of wealthier relatives, scraps sold by factories at reasonable prices, etc. Denim, flannels, cottons and other more common fabrics were also eventually used to create crazy quilts.
Crazy quilting has been experiencing a new appreciation and resurgence in recent years and although still having the same characteristics as the historical quilts have evolved due to newly developed and more readily available materials, products and techniques. Anything goes, from solid fabrics to patterned fabrics, basic stitching to more elaborate creations with lots of embellishing. Options for embellishing are almost unlimited. It is perfectly acceptable to embellish such things as jewelry pieces, ribbon embroidery, buttons, sequins, beads, keys, ciggies or other images on cloth, doilies, laces, fancy fibers and charms for instance.
Two techniques used to construct crazy quilts are (1) paper piecing or (2) flip and sew (at times may be referred to as stitch and turn, stitch and flip, flip and stitch, or fold and sew among others). The pieces are constructed onto a base fabric such as muslin.
Crazy quilting has no hard and fast rules. It is a wonderful means of expression as an art form in itself. Animals, flowers, insects and/or birds seem to be the favorite subjects used to decorate crazy quilts. You will very often see spiders in their webs on crazy quilts which is a symbol of good luck. Crazy quilting is not just used for quilts, but many items are now made using a crazy quilt patterning and embellishing techniques.
Some great links to learn more about crazy quilting and see more examples:
- A wonderful sample of an antique CQ from 1885 was shared by Deb of Mosaic Magpie on a co-authored crazy quilt blog. You will also find many CQ related links to other sites on the sidebar of this blog: http://simplyCQ.blogspot.com
- A variety of entries for a year-long crazy quilt project are shared on this site. Lots of eye candy here: http://www.cqjp2012.blogspot.com/
- Pat Winter is a mentor to many of us and shares so much of her knowledge with others on her blog. She also produces a magazine devoted to CQ and the link to find it is on her blog: http://gatherings100.blogspot.com/
- This is a site for CQ lovers from around the world. They host many round robins, challenges, etc. http://crazyquiltinginternational.blogspot.com/
Interested in more? Mosaic Magpie has a lovely write up with more photos of the full quilt at the beginning of this article!
Do you personally challenge yourself to learn something new in quilting every so often? I do! This year I’ve become interested in not only learning more about embroidery but also taking a dip into the world of Sashiko quilting. I don’t know much about this.. but I have friends that do!
Today I’m going to give you a little overview, some links to videos and articles.. then later this year we’ll dive a little deeper with an expert.
What IS Sashiko?
Wikipedia says “Sashiko (literally “little stabs”) is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) from Japan. Traditionally used to reinforce points of wear, or to repair worn places or tears with patches, this running stitch technique is often used for purely decorative purposes in quilting and embroidery. The white cotton thread on the traditional indigo blue cloth gives Sashiko its distinctive appearance, though decorative items sometimes use red thread.
Many Sashiko patterns were derived from Chinese designs, but just as many were developed by the Japanese themselves. The artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) published the book New Forms for Design in 1824, and these designs have inspired many Sashiko patterns.” Source
Sashiko is an embroidery pattern you put on the top of the fabric, just like the crazy quilting and regular embroidery. I’m drawn to the traditional navy with cream thread, it’s so beautiful! I can’t wait to try this!
Did you know there is now a Sashiko machine by Baby Lock? I found this fascinating and will be taking a look at one next time I can!
Our friends at Aurifil are sponsoring a thread giveaway to celebrate MY interest in Sashiko! This beautiful box of colors was selected by quilter Sharon Pederson. You can learn about the threads from Sharon at these videos: Video 1 and Video 2.
To be in the running to win… Answer one of these reader questions in the comment section below:
- What kind of thread to use for embroidery? There are so many choices!
- What type of embroidery is your favorite?
- What is your preferred size and brand of needles to use for embroidery?
One winner will be randomly selected next Wednesday, April 25, 2012. One entry per person please.
Pat Sloan is owner and founder of the quilting design and publishing company Pat Sloan & Co. She has published over 25 books, more than 100 patterns, nearly 10 fabric lines, and has had her work featured in all the major Quilt magazines. In January 2010, Pat started hosting her weekly Internet Radio show called Creative Talk Radio.
Find Pat here:
Congratulations to the winner #100 Winona.. check your email for a message from me.