The Quiet of Winter

birdhousesinwinter In the olden days, I hated the dark months of winter. Where was the sunshine, the greenery, the warmth of the great outdoors? But not any more. Now I treasure the quiet days of winter.

randomacts5My favorite days are the days when I’m snowed in and dare not leave the house. On those days (after shoveling the walks, ha!) I play in my studio and make new art work.

randomacts7The quiet is an opportunity to exercise my art making brain. The challenge of improvising a design from fused fabric scraps keeps me warm.

randomacts8It’s also a time for me to reflect on what it’s like to be one of my students. In several of my classes I demand that they make up a design on the spot. “This is hard!” they say.

I know. I have the same problem. But like any exercise, it is worth it in the end.Save

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Color Chip Collage #4

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Before placing the backing fabric on my color chip collage quilt, I added a little hand embroidery to the leaf in the center. A Size 12 pearl cotton thread and Size 5 hand embroidery needle are used for stitchery. After the hand embroidery is complete, the backing fabric is added and then it’s off to the races with machine quilting!

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A color chip quilt has dozens of raw edges. These fabric edges can catch on the prongs of an open presser foot. So I use a closed #29C quilting foot for my BERNINA 750 QE sewing machine. This type of machine foot glides across the fabric surface and keeps those fabric edges flat as you stitch.

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Here’s the final color chip quilt all stitched and bound. I feel so tidy and neat now. It was a delightful way to use up all those fused fabric scraps!

Color Chip Collage #3

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The color chip collage was invented by a frugal fuser. It is a way to get rid of lots of fused fabric scraps and make a fun piece of artwork at the same time. This fused collage measures about 12” x 11” and was built on a Teflon sheet. Notice that the outside edges are irregular. That’s fine with me.

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Our irregular color chip collage is about to be joined with a background fabric and design element. The stylish design element is a free-cut leaf in a really red color. Zig-zag edges of the leaf are cut with a pinking blade on the rotary cutter.

colorchipcollage8The layers of the design are assembled onto the non-scrim side of the batting and then steam set with a hot iron to fuse the layers in place.

The quilting process for a color chip quilt requires a special foot for your machine. Stay tuned and I’ll show you that soon.

Color Chip Collage #2

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When I’m in a rare neaten-up mood, I like to build collages from my fused fabric scraps. These scraps, left over from other fused art quilt projects, may be years old. But just like many of us ancient things, they still have their uses. They are still very fusible.

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Most of my fused scraps are sorted by color….. kinda. If you don’t have a mountain of small fused scraps in your stash like I do, then randomly chop up larger fused fabrics with your rotary cutter to make scraps. Fused fabric scraps that measure 2” or less give you a more fractured look. These bits of fabric are called “color chips”.

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In fusing you don’t sew fabric scraps together, you just overlap them slightly and iron or fused them together to make a collage. Build your collage on a Teflon sheet or parchment paper (fused fabrics will release from them after ironing). Overlap adjoining scraps by about 1/4” and collage away!

More coming up on how to use color chips to make a small art quilt.

Color Chip Collage #1

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As you may have guessed by now I make fused art quilts. All the fabrics used in my designs are covered with fusible web. My fusible web of choice is Pellon Wonder Under #805, a regular weight of fusible web you’ll find in your local fabric shop.

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After I make a fused quilt I have tons of cut-aways or left over fused fabrics. I save these fabrics. Once fusible web is on a fabric, you can use it today or years from now.

  And I should know, having collected bins of fused fabric over the years.

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Leaf of Faith #8 by Laura Wasilowski

These oddly shaped fabrics give me a palette of pre-fused colors to improvise with and often trigger new quilt ideas. But sometimes there are just too many of them and I must clear away the scraps. In the next few days I’ll show you how to make a quilt like this with those fused scraps. It is a color chip collage quilt.

My Baking Career?

parchmentpaperLooks like I’m about to bake a massive batch of cookies, right? If you believe this, you would be very, very wrong. The last time I baked cookies dinosaurs roamed Illinois. No, this recent supply of parchment paper has a different destiny. It was purchased at my local Costco for your class projects.

stripfusing2See, parchment paper works just like the release paper that comes with fusible web. Used when making fused art quilts, this paper has a silicone coating that releases fused fabrics glued together like this collage of green fabric strips. I am told that parchment paper also releases large chocolate chip cookies that someone else bakes. I hope to meet that person someday.