The 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.
To 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.
Today 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?
Ever 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.
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!
We 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!
Instead 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.
Also, 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.
Little Landscape #22 by Laura Wasilowski
Soon to be on the road, I’m packing my bags to teach in Sisters, OR next week. Sisters is the home of the largest outdoor quilt festival in the nation called Quilter’s Affair and being there is always lots of fun.
Little Landscape #21 by Laura Wasilowski
These small pieces of artwork are traveling with me and measure about 9″ x 9″. Can’t wait to show my students and encourage them to think big. See you in Sisters!
Little Landscape #23 by Laura Wasilowski
It’s summer time! Time to enjoy free time in my cool, neat, and clean studio.
OK, maybe it’s not all that neat. There is a lot to straighten up. But I can’t wait to tackle all the potential hidden in those fabulous fused fabric scraps. Do you have a summer project planned too?