What’s Stitching? Where to Start?

windycity18aThis hot little number has been on my design wall for months. It’s next in the Windy City series of quilts. And it is ready for hand embroidery.

windycity18bWhen I add the hand embroidery I always start with the focal point. In this case, it’s the little house. My first step is to outline the house and roof using a blanket stitch and size 12 pearl cotton threads that contrast in color with the shapes. This way the shapes pop out, giving them importance like a focal point deserves.

Next I add a chain stitch around the door to highlight that shape. Little windows are made with lazy daisy stitches in blue with a straight stitch of yellow inside the loop.

And to really make the roof pop, I’ve whipped stitches around the edge of the blanket stitch with blue thread.  A yellow thread is slipped under the tines of the blanket stitch to give a neat little pattern.

Now that the focal point is stitched, I can plan other areas to stitch on this small fused art quilt. Can’t wait to see what happens!

Chicago School of Fusing Diploma Now Available!

Rowenta Sports Arena

Rowenta Sports Arena at the Chicago School of Fusing

Congratulations upon your graduation from the Chicago School of Fusing! That’s what I always say to my students when they complete one of my fusing classes.

And there are many recent graduate to congratulate. They all did beautiful work and I’m so grateful that they took a class with me at the IQF show in Houston or through their local guild.

chicago-school-certSo, in honor of all the graduates out there who wish a diploma to hang proudly in their studio or office, here’s a PDF that you can print out. (Thank you Judy K for this great design!) Press on!

What’s Stitching? A Windy City Quilt

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Windy City #17 by Laura Wasilowski

Today I’m teaching my favorite class, Tiny Homes, at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. Why is it a favorite?

windycity17detail

About one hour into the class I see my students inventing fun and whimsical designs. These art pieces are unique to each maker and delightful to behold. I can’t wait to see what they make this year!

An Exhibit to See: Upcycle!

upcyclecoverI am beyond thrilled to discover that my entry, Painting the Town, is featured on the cover of the exhibition catalog for the SAQA exhibition, Upcycle! This exhibit will premier at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this week.

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Painting the Town (detail) by Laura Wasilowski

Painting the Town is made from a drop cloth used on my print table. Each time I dye or print a fabric for my art work, I use a cotton drop cloth. These utilitarian fabrics collect the dribbles, stains, and shadows of the colorful inks and dyes. Like a journal, I can “read” the drop cloth fabric and reminisce about the art I’ve made and events in my life during the painting process. My collection of drop cloths are now being recycled into art and carry these memories with them.

Frantically Designing a New Class

libbysleavesnumber3detailbDon’t tell anyone, but I’m not quite prepared for a new class I’m teaching at the International Quilt Festival. My new class, Libby’s Leaves, premiers on Friday, November 1.

It’s not like I haven’t been thinking a lot about how to present the class. It’s just that I don’t have is a finished quilt to show the class.

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Libby’s Leaves by Laura Wasilowski

See the original Libby’s Leaves quilt (above) that the class is based upon has been sold. And, making it a rule to never replicate a quilt design, I have to invent a new design in the spirit of the original. It also has to be something that illustrates the construction methods of the design. Plus I need step-outs and an outline for teaching the class.

So as I scramble to catch up with my ambitions, I ask that you wish me luck.

And again, please don’t tell anyone.

State of the Studio: Packing

packingIt’s that time of year when packing up for the Houston show consumes two weeks of October. This year I’m teaching 5 (!) classes with each class of 30 people requiring a kit. Here you see kit preparation for class #366, Felt Like Gardening. 

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Felt Like Gardening #3 by Laura Wasilowski

This class is the most labor intensive kit. I’ve cut about 100 pre-cut felt shapes for each student to use in their creations, loaded thread rings with hand-dyed threads, cut felt for the backgrounds, and printed my booklets with embroidery stitch information. Sigh…….

And I’m giving one lecture called Art Quilts: The Musical on October 31 at 10 am. As this date also coincides with Halloween, you can expect a scary yet sweet production about quilt making.