Monday, April 30, 2012

Bringing up the Bobbin thread to the top

Hi again!
I realized after finalizing my earlier post from today, that I meant to talk about something and forgot.

When doing free motion quilting or any stitching on quilting, it is a very good idea, and I would almost say imperative, to pull the bobbin thread up to the top of your quilting before proceeding with your stitching.   I found this out the hard way when I did my first ATC/NTC.   I kept getting a thread nest, after thread nest under the ATC every time I began to stitch.  I changed sewing machine needles, changed threads, cleaned out my bobbin holder area, you name it!  I was so frustrated I'm sure there was smoke coming out of my ears!  

And then I remembered a little something from all the quilt shows I had watched.  Bring up the bobbin thread to the top of your work.  Well, I always thought this was just a little quirk of the quilter but NOPE!!!  Its a MUST!  You might get lucky, like me, and get a few rows of stitching in with no problems at all, but when the poop hits the fan and the nests start, oh my....    When the nests start, so do the curse words!

If you do a Google search for "Bringing the bobbin thread up to the top", you will get many suggested links.  I came across this one.  I do not endorse her book, nor have I ever seen it before, but when she finally gets down to giving the demonstration on bringing up the thread to the top of your work, its pretty darned good!

Good luck!

Mary Wigham, ATC/NTC, Pebble

Well, talk about stress!   They've changed Blogger on me so wish me luck on posting this blog as it all looks soooo different!
Well, what have I been doing?  

First of all, my progress on the Mary Wigham sampler being done in Facebook, "Sampler World".

With regards to the Mary Wigham sampler, when you download the free pattern, you are not able to download a photo of the completed sampler, as done by Mary Wigham.  Well, you can download it, but it is so small that you can't really see anything very well.  When I was first stitching the sampler, I found errors in the pattern.  At first, I was making corrections.  I then realized that the pattern may be following Mary's sampler exactly, errors and all.  And I was trying to figure this out by looking at this very tiny photo of the sampler, which I wasn't too happy about doing.  My eyes just aren't cut out for that! 

As I mentioned before, I am using some 22 count beige Hardanger fabric that I had at home and am stitching the sampler over one thread, using one thread of DMC.   I have been stitching on this sampler Monday evenings at stitching guild and Wednesdays with friends.  I think I have two or three more rows to do!

Well, I went looking for your link to view the Mary Wigham sampler and it is gone!?   I will have to take a look at the site when I have more time to see what is happening.  This is where it used to be:

I spent an enormous amount of time lately looking at blogs.  I'm sure we've ALL been there.  You start out at one blog, and that person has a gazillion links that you MUST visit and three hours later, you are left gasping for breath as your mind is swirling and whirling with all the new and exciting things you have seen and you wonder where the hell you are going to start!!!   All I can say is, I am totally overwhelmed with the depth and scope of imaginative talent out there!  WOW!   And it is all at there for our eyes to behold, after just touching a few keys or moving a little mouse.

Well, having said that, I decided to make my first ATC.  Artist Trading Cards, though I do not profess to be an Artist, so they are NTC's for me.  Newby Trading Cards.

This is the first I made.  There are a number of "firsts" for me in this NTC.  Its the first  NTC I made, the first time I made a scene out of fabric, the first time I used a stamp, (the trees with acrylic paints) and the first time I tried free motion stitching!   OH MY....   Those weird swirls are supposed to represent a windy sky!   When you see them on quilts, they look so simple and wonderful and so easy to make.   I beg to differ!   Go try to make a few!  Freehand, with no drawing to follow and I don't know if I even could have followed a drawing!!!

NTC number one
I was lucky to find a fabric that represented a colourful sunset but it had greens in it and I had to cut off a piece at the top of the NTC and add another piece so that there wouldn't be bushes in the sky!

My second NTC:

I've had this idea in my mind for a while about making a wall hanging, that sort of looks like the NTC, but a little fancier.  It is loaded with stitching and beads, and sparkle, etc.  So I decided to try an NTC first.  All went well, except I wanted to make some of the organza grass 3 Dimensional and so fused them turned half way.  Which was very time consuming but I liked the affect.  But, when I ironed the backing fabric onto the NTC,  I flattened the 3 D grass!   So NTC's are great to do especially when you want to experiment with something to see how it goes.  I found it physically impossible to cut little circles to put on the fish, so cut narrow strips and made squares instead!    And, I did try to stitch on the grasses before I cut them out but the stitching looked horrible so I left them plain.  Also, I fused two pieces of organza together but found them a little stiff this way so have some thicker fused organza grasses and then some one layer organza grasses.  I was going to stitch the tips and the bottoms of the grasses to the background, but then realized that the stitching showed so decided to fuse them to the background and thought this was such a brilliant idea.  Until I fused them and saw that the little tiny squares of fusible web were showing if you looked closely.  So, back to the drawing board on the grasses before I make a big wallhanging!

And finally, I have been working on my Pebble which was discussed in the previous blog entry.   I have stitched as much as I can on it and probably stitched to much.   More than anything, I LOVE this kind of stitching.  I could do this for hours and hours and hours.  In the course of cleaning up my craft room, I placed my cardboard or mat board in a very safe place.  So safe that I can't find it.  When it is found, I can complete the Pebble!

This is my Pebble:
There is a fuzzy little thing near the top left.  I was trying to make some sort of floaty leggy watery creature, an anemone?, and searched through my "The Embroidery Stitch Bible" and found the Rya stitch.  It was hard doing that stitch in a very tiny format but I did it in a double circle and cut the threads when I was done.  totally thrilled with it! Otherwise, there are bullion stitches, french knots, straight stitches, star stitch, woven picots, woven circles, buttonhole loops, and perhaps a fly stitch or two.  It was a learning experience for me to make both tight french knots and very loose french knots.

I am off  to Charlottetown on Wednesday!   I am taking an all day workshop by Kathy Tidswell.   I am really looking forward to this workshop and hope to come back with my imagination flying higher than it already is!

The grass is green, and though we've had some really wonderfully warm days around 20C, it is back to normal spring temps of 8 or 10C.  Still cool, but at least work is getting done in between all this wild imaginings!   I am now off to do something totally exciting!   Hang the laundry on the clothesline! 

And watch the dog...

 Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sketching, no TAST news

Hello again!

WOW! My last blog entry had us in the middle of a wild snow storm! Today, as I write this, it is 22 C, the sun is shining, the fields are dry and the farmers are planting wheat! And yes, there are still small areas in thickly treed areas and along the edges of fields that have snow in them!

After my last post and our last snow storm or maybe our second to last snow storm, we actually got some nice weather! We never knew how long the nice weather was going to last as the weather report seemed to change hourly, so the last few weeks, every time it was nice out, we ran out to do yard chores. We live out in the country and have almost an acre of land, so there is lots to rake. I also have about 80 bushes and trees, and four large flower beds and one large vegetable garden plus pots that needed to be cleaned out. We even did some pruning! So we are alot further along than we normally are this time of year, but I am way behind in stitching. Since we are an island and surrounded by somewhat cold or cool water, which can be in ice form this time of year, our springs are usually a long time in coming so it was a bit unusual for us to have the nice weather that we did the last few weeks. In between our yard work, we managed a few walks along various beaches near us. As a side note, there is no where on this island, where you are no more than half an hour from a beach!
This is Cabot Park:

In any case, I was able to start my "Pebble", previously mentioned. You can find more info on the Pebble in Stitchin Fingers or here. This is what I have done in my Pebble so far.
I started out with just the ecru but thought it was boring. Even though I have recently stocked my perle cotton supply with various colours, I didn't seem to have enough variation in colours to get a slight variation in colour from the ecru. I ended up with some somewhat sharp contrasts. The ecru right now is looking a bit lonely so I will have to spread it around some so that it doesn't look so out of sorts all by itself along the bottom. I'll keep you posted!

After all our hard work in the yard, I decided yesterday that we needed a day off. Not too much of a day off as I am now getting up at 5:30 a.m. to get to the pool by 6 a.m. so that I don't lose too much of the day and can get some work done. So, after the pool, we packed a picnic lunch and the three of us headed off to our nearby National Park Campground (me, husband, dog). The park is still closed to camping, but you can walk in and enjoy the quiet peacefullness. I brought along my sketching supplies and my husband took the dog and they walked the nearby 10 km trail as I sketched.

The results of my efforts:

The first things I drew: leaves, dried flower, pine cone, branch on the ground
The leaves:
The dried flower:

And the branches:

Then I got brave and tried to do a tree stump. I think I chose something a bit too challenging as there were too many angles and levels and it got a bit overwhelming for me and I kept forgetting what level I was trying to draw. Not displeased with the result though.

The tree stump:

After I sketched each item, I got up for a stretch and during one of the stretches, took a photo of my set up. LOL Not much of one! This is when I was preparing to do the tree trunk.
There was a picnic table behind me with the rest of my gear. I didn't use them but brought some watercolour pencils, some water and brushes, just in case. On my chair and with me, was a selection of drawing pencils, my pad, and two cameras.

These are two photos taken from the chair. One to my left and a bit in front, the other to my right and a bit behind.

To the left and a bit in front, which I love because I love backlit scenes.

And this is to the right and a bit behind me:

I am definitely behind in TAST for sure now. I have no idea what happened but I was unable to see what the new stitches were after week 14. I just got to see week 15 stitch a day or two ago and so am now at least 2 stitches behind. We are expecting some cooler and possibly rainy or snowy weather for the next week so I will hope to catch up!

I leave you with one further photo. Along the north shore of our island, lobster fishing season opens May 1st. The fishermen are allowed to put their traps in the water April 30th and then haul them out May 1st with their first catch of the season. These lobsters are the best! The meat in the shell is wonderful and full and the water is cold so they taste the best. We have another season in the fall, mostly along the south shore, but I find these lobsters just don't taste the same. In this last photo, the boats which were taken out of the waters in the fall because the water freezes up, even though it is salt water, are now back in the water. The new or freshly repaired lobster traps are being loaded and piled up on the docks waited to be loaded onto the boats for April 30th.
This last photo was taken just outside of the Cabot Park, in Malpeque Bay. Malpeque Bay is actually world famous among the good seafood restaurant world. Malpeque Bay oysters are among the best in the world! The lobsters are pretty good too! LOL

Well, enjoy your spring and have a lovely week!