Can You Name This Colorway?

rhubarbthread2My heart goes out to those who must give names to every paint swatch in Home Depot. Thinking up color names for the fabric and threads I dye is so very taxing. Ah, the drudgery of it all!

Thankfully I have friends and family with imaginations. They have helped me name most of the colorways dyed for Artfabrik. Can you guess what this colorway is called?

rhubarb2Rhubarb! Yes, you are correct! Today I picked my rhubarb, gave it a bath, and froze it for future rhubarb goodies that, with any luck, someone else will make.

With a Light Heart

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With a Light Heart by Laura Wasilowski

Soon I’ll be packing my bags to teach in Sisters, OR. Sisters is the home of the largest outdoor quilt festival in the nation called Quilters Affair.

One of the many activities at the show is the opportunity to bid on art work by donors for the charity, Wish Upon a Card. My donation this year, With a Light Heart, measures about  4″ x 6″ and is free- form hand embroidered on wool. Loved making it, love that it’s helping out someone in need, and love that it will go to a good home.

Here is a quick video about this little free-form embroidery. Enjoy!

How to Make Waves with Fabric

bettysbloomers7

Betty’s Bloomers #7 by Laura Wasilowski

Need to make waves with your fabric? The answer is bias fusing. Bias fusing is a method of taking a straight strip of fabric and curving it as you fuse. It is magic! And therefore dangerous. So stand back as I show you how to make waves like those in the vase above.

biasfusing51.Cut a square of fused fabric from corner to corner to form 2 triangles. You are cutting the square on the bias or at a 45 degree angle to the grain of the fabric.
2. Cut a set of straight strips that taper from a point to about 1/2″ across from the bias edge of each triangle.

ironcleaning33. Clean your iron! You must use a clean iron to fuse the bias strips or I guarantee you’ll get gunk on your fabric. Here’s how to clean your iron.

biasfusing64. Iron a square of fused fabric to a Teflon sheet or a piece of silicone release paper.
5. Tack one of the bias cut fabric strips onto the edge of the background fabric.
6. Slowly fuse and curve the bias strip across the background square.

biasfusing97. Continue to fuse more bias strips across the square.

biasfusing78. After the fabric cools, remove the bias fused collage from the paper.
9. Fold the square from corner to corner with the glue sides out.
10. Free-cut a vase shape from the folded square.

bettysbloomers7

Betty’s Bloomer #7 by Laura Wasilowski

11.Stick some leaves and flowers in the vase, put it on a table, and call it done!

Why Bias is Good

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Spring Leaves by Laura Wasilowski

One of the hazards of making a fused art quilt is the dreaded frayed edge. Fabric shapes with threads sticking out like whiskers detract from your gorgeous art work. You want a close shave, fabric edges that are cleanly cut.

Here are a few tips to avoid the dreaded frayed edge.

  • Use sharp tools. Sharp scissors and rotary cutters give you a nice clean cut. Dull tools fray fabric.
  • Practice cutting shapes in one long motion. Starting and stopping while cutting shapes with scissors leaves uneven, ragged edges. biasfusing3
  • When cutting long and skinny fabric shapes, cut the fabric on the bias. A bias cut fabric is cut at a 45 degree angle to the grain of the fabric. Bias cut fabrics don’t fray. To find the bias cut a square of fabric using the selvedge edge of the fabric as one side of your square. Cut across the square from corner to corner to form 2 triangles. The long sides of the 2 triangles are the bias edges.

Happy Fusing! 

How to Quickly Stitch a Bird

backyardbird1prestitchSee that little blue spot on the right of this quilt? That little blue spot is a bird. Or at least it will be a bird after a few hand embroidery stitches make it so.

backyardbird1detailFrom head to tail the little bird measures about 1.5″. He’s just a piece of blue fabric cut in the shape of a bird. He needs stitchery to make up the details of his parts. Make yourself a little bird and follow these steps:

  • Outline the shape with the Outline Stitch and a few Blanket Stitches for the belly of the bird. Stitches are place on the purple background fabric and snugged right up to the bird shape. Use a contrasting thread colorway like Sunflowers. (Size 12 pearl cotton thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
  • Stitch the front curve of the wing shape with the Outline Stitch and then swing into a few elongated Blanket Stitches to indicate feathers. (Size 12 Evening Greens thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
  • Use that same Evening Greens thread and add 2 long straight stitches down the center of his tail for tail feathers.
  • Use a fine (50 weight) black sewing thread to make the pupil of his eye. Small straight stitches or a heavy duty French Knot will work. Surround the pupil with tiny Outline Stitches. (Size 12 Aquamarine thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
  • Make the beak with a set of straight stitches that radiate in a triangle shape from the edge of the bird’s head to the tip of the beak. (Size 12 Oranges thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
  • Use the same Oranges thread for accent marks and to repeat the color of the beak. Add straight stitches around the wing and 2 long stitches to the tail. Place 3 French Knots to the cap of the wing for decoration. He is a fancy bird.
  • Make a jaunty crest for the bird’s head out of 3 Pistil Stitches. (Size 12 Sunflowers thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
  • Breath a sigh of relief and move on to other areas of the quilt.

How Convenient

fusedscraps It’s so nice to have a stock pile of pre-fused fabric scraps and collages to play. It’s my favorite way to improvise new quilt designs.You could say that all of these fabrics have been fused for my art making convenience.

springblooms8

Spring Blooms #8 by Laura Wasilowski

Here’s the last design that has sprung from that heap of fabric. It’s called Spring Blooms #8 and is my way of celebrating the spring blooms in my garden. Spring! At last!