Improvisational Stitching #4

 redwoolembroidery4Here’s what to love about hand embroidery- you can take it with you. You only need these basic items: fabric, needle, thread, thimble, and a pair of scissors. Hand embroidery is a great vacation pass time!

Which is what I’ve been doing the last few weeks. Relaxing with family, getting sun burned, and stitching. Well, maybe not stitching a lot. As you can see my garden didn’t grow very much while I was on vacation. Vacationing is great but it is also very exhausting so it’s good to be back in my shady studio again.

vaseonwool

Flower Vase Stitch Along by Laura Wasilowski

Do you need a vacation project? Then please check out my free project on wool on the C&T Blog the Flower Vase Stitch Along. Or if you need a few months to think about your next stitch project, check out my IQF classes this fall in Houston. I’ll be teaching several classes including Felt Like Gardening in the morning on October 30. See you there!

Improvisational Stitching #3

redwoolembroidery3The blue flowers are very sweet on this improvisational stitchery. But something big and bold is needed for the focal point. Enter the Chain Stitch. Stitched in a size 8 pearl cotton, it curves down the center of the piece. Add a few straight stitches spiking from the chain and we’re in business. Could this be a future big and bold flower stem?

While thinking this through, I’ve added lots of Ermine Stitches in size 8 thread across the base of the garden. Don’t you love how the yellow pops on that rich red background?

Sometimes its a challenge to choose thread colors for an unexpected background color like this. But if you think in terms of contrast in value or hue, it opens up your thread color choices a great deal. Can’t wait to see what the fabric tells me to do next!

Improvisational Stitching #2

redwoolembroidery1aThe red wool I’m using for my improvised embroidery is a boiled wool. It is fairly thick, a little fuzzy, and ever so easy to stitch. In it’s previous life it was a jacket. Also, in a previous life, I demonstrated how to make these blue Fishbone Stitches on the wool to a student. I think I did it right.

 

redwoolembroidery2To me the Fishbone Stitches look like something growing which triggers my theme for this improvised piece- a garden. And what does a garden need? Soil of course! The horizon line made with a Couched size 3 pearl cotton indicates the rich loamy soil of Illinois. Add Stem Stitches with a few Lazy Daisy Stitches and the plants are anchored into place. Now its time to improvise even more plants in my imaginary garden.

Improvisational Stitching #1

redwoolembroidery1Today I unearthed this swatch of red wool fabric. The few stitches you see represent my attempt to teach a student how to make the Fern and Stem Stitches. The blue thread shows my attempts at the Fishbone Stitch.

My first thought upon seeing this red wool was “Ouch!, I left a needle in the fabric.” The second was, “Can I make something from this?”

Improvisational or free-form embroidery challenges your brain and tests your ability to surrender to needle and thread. So, for the next few weeks, I’m going to give my brain a work out and try to improvise a design beginning with these few random acts of stitching. I’ll show you the results as I progress and we can lament my lack of brain power together.

Now, where did I put that needle?

Quilt Teachers Goofing Off

teachershoustonEver wonder what quilt teachers do when they get together? They goof off, that’s what they do! Here you see a group of my cohorts lounging around during lunch at last year’s International Quilt Festival in Houston. As you can see, these people are “professionals” at all times.

windycity13

Windy City #13 by Laura Wasilowski

We do have fun together and I’m looking forward to seeing them again this year in October. I’m teaching 5 half-day classes on fused art quilts and free-form embroidery. And I’m giving an exciting lecture that’s all about me me me too.

Check out the IQF class listings here. Hope you can join us in Houston!

How to Murder Your Glue with Kindness

fusingfabric3We all know this when using fusible web: too much heat from the iron for too long will kill fusible web on fabric. Repeated exposure to a hot iron actually burns the glue into the fabric. The fabric shapes get stiff and soon pop off like a rubber band in flight.

Don’t do it!

fusingfabric5Instead use a technique called “fuse tacking” when adding fused shapes to your background fabric. Fuse tacking is exposing the glue to a little heat from the iron for a short amount of time, about 3 seconds.

ironcleaning4Also, cover your design with silicone release paper or parchment paper when fuse tacking. This protects your iron and keeps shapes place upside down from sticking to the iron. (Here are more tips on fusing .)

However, I do give you permission to kill glue on your ironing board. The glue loves the iron and wants to melt all over it. If you get fusible web on your ironing surface, the iron will melt it and put it on your beautiful quilt top.

Here’s how to kill your glue: Place silicone release paper or parchment paper on the offending splotch of glue. Use a hot iron and iron the glue through the paper a good 20 – 30 seconds. This will melt the glue into the ironing board fabric and it will no longer be attracted to your hot iron.

Press on!