Mixing the blues!
It’s been a long two weeks of dyeing. Each day, I dye pearl cotton thread in my basement studio, hand wash it out, and hang it up to air dry. It’s colorful but messy work.
What a relief to escape the dye studio and enjoy the colors of my garden. Early summer truly is the best time of year for a stroll through the foliage. Flowers like poppies are in full bloom. Our new crop of zinnias cheerfully fill the world with color. And the mosquitoes greet me gleefully. How does your garden grow?
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.
1.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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
7. Continue to fuse more bias strips across the square.
8. 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.
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!
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.
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!
Basket of Flowers by Laura Wasilowski
When I teach, I always bring samples of small art quilts for display in the classroom. Improvisation is the theme for many of my classes but occasionally students receive a pattern to combine with their own improvised designs. A good example of this type of class is the Woven Flower Basket workshop I’ll be teaching for the Illini Country Stitchers in Champaign-Urbana IL soon.
You say you can’t make it to Champaign-Bananas, as we call it in Illinois? Happily I’ve developed a pattern and kit for you called Basket of Flowers. Directions and templates make it easy for you to create this 12″ x 13″ fused wall quilt in the comfort of your own home.
Another set of jolly flowers to the right of the giant flower help balance out this free-stitched garden. It only takes two circles of the Lazy Daisy Stitch to make the daisy-like blooms. But first, the centers are made with a circle of Stem Stitches that are filled in with Needle Weaving. Add a few French Knots and these posies are complete.
More flowers drop in across the silk repeating shapes and colors. And the grasses are filled in with Straight Stitches and the loops of the single Lazy Daisy Stitch.
Just like making a balanced design, life requires balance too. And that’s why I’m setting this project aside for a while as I begin a week of dyeing. It’s also an opportunity to think about where to stitch next on this small garden on silk.
Isn’t that yellow thread gorgeous on the blue silk? The 5 petals of these flowers are made with a Fly Stitch. It’s similar to the Lazy Daisy Stitch but with a wide opening at the base. By placing the Fly Stitches in a circle, you make a star shape flower. Stitch a bundle of French Knots in the center and add botanist to your resume. Sweet!
You may want to start filling in the background with more grass. (I’m using a Size 12 in the Nasturtium colorway that repeats the color in some of the flowers.) Try inventing a few more small flowers above the grasses. I know you can do it!
The Lazy Daisy Stitch using a Size 12 in the Peas in a Pod colorway replicates leaves in the background A finer thread like the Size 12 easily fills in spaces making a mound of vegetation.