Friday, July 22, 2016

Garden Peculiarities

When tomatoes tell lies.

Lying Tomato

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Quilted Book Cover

I took a detour from butterflies and other projects-in progress-to make a quick gift. My sister-in-law's mom is going through some challenges, and I saw a coloring book that made me think of her. (I have no idea whether or not she will actually like a coloring book.) I also found some clever "twist up" coloring pencils. While I hadn't thought about sewing anything, it struck me to make a little pouch for the book and pencils, and the project kind of took on a life of its own over the weekend.

I had started sewing little hexagons on papers while I was on travel last week, thinking to start a "box of hexagons" using scraps. I didn't have a specific project in mind, just to start collecting scrap hexagons. However, I took them out and thought about using some of them. I had 35, which was exactly enough to make five flowers. That seemed kismet, so that's what I did. I sewed them on some fabric charms I had in my stash, added some sashing to make it tall enough for the book, and put a zipper in the side.

It occurred to me to embroider around the flowers, and then I added some French knots in the middle. (It's DMC pearl cotton in "variations" colorways.) A little tag, and it was done!

Sharons Gift - Front

Sharons Gift - Back

Sharons Gift - Blue Flower

Sharons Gift - Green Flower

Sharons Gift - Orange Flower

Sharons Gift - Purple Flower

Sharons Gift - Red Flower

Sharons Gift - Label

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay

Monday, January 25, 2016

Butterfly Applique'

I appliqued the butterflies to the background. The rows get further apart going down.

Butterflies Appliqued

I put on the bodies and about three quarters of the antennae. The antennae are two strands of embroidery floss using "whipped reverse chain stitch." Basically, just do a chain stitch (or reverse chain, depending on which direction you like to chain), and then whip through each chain in the link. In this case, I used the same thread for both, but I'm sure you could whip it with a different color for an interesting effect. In the end, it looks like a stem stitch, only thicker.
Butterfly Antennae - 1

Butterfly Antennae - 2

The area at the side where the stacked fabric shows will likely be covered after the embellishing embroidery goes on. In the class example version, the brown bodies were smaller than the base, and the colored base showed all around the brown body piece. However, using the templates in the pattern, the edges were even.

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay

Previous Butterfly / Sue Spargo post, here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Butterfly Background

Mitchell and I are on a snow day, and I finished appliqueing the background pieces for the Butterfly Sampler.

The basic instructions are to use a monochrome background. I thought the "off-white" might be a bit boring, but it helps if you call it, "Champagne." Hah!

I made it a little bit bigger than instructed... and my butterflies will be a bit further apart.

Butterfly Background - Champagne

The example in "Creative Texturing" had two perpendicular rows of blocks, edged with ribbons, and a single circle. I went with three, obviously. Here are a couple in closeup. These will be fund to embellish with embroidery...

Butterfly Background - Champagne - check circle

Butterfly Background - Champagne - brown cirrcle

The book also had three little hexagon flower elements, which I decided to do, as well. I found the "English Paper Piecing" (EPP) unexpectedly fun to do. Now, I suppose I'll end up collecting little hexagons in a box, somewhere...

Butterfly Background - Champagne - hexies

I'm ready to sew on butterflies!

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay

Previous Butterfly / Sue Spargo post, here.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Embellished Needlebook

Before diving into the butterfly sampler, I made a needlebook. This gives me a way to organize all the various needles for the embellishment, but it also gave me a chance to try Sue Spargo's Creative Stitching and Creative Texturing techniques on a slightly smaller project. The circle design on the cover was modeled after one of Sue's circle samplers.


I used a wool felt for the red book base, and then layered quilting cottons, ribbon and rick rack. The closure uses a pony-tail elastic band.

Circle 4 - Taffeta

Taffeta circle edged with beaded coral stitch using silk ribbon.

Circle 3 - Batik

Batik quilting cotton edged with rosette chain stitch using oriental linen thread.

Circle 2 - Shantung

Silk Shantung with chain stitch using Valdani Pearl Cotton #12.

Circle 1 - Wool

Wool fabric edged with bullion knots using DMC Pearl Cotton #5.


The pages are craft felt. I printed the labels on printable fabric. There is a closing pocket in the front (with another ponytail elastic) and a non-closing pocket in the back cover.

I went ahead and chose fabrics and cut my butterflies... The background will be off-white.

Butterflies cut

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay

Previous Butterfly/Sue Spargo post, here.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Quilt #6: Also Known As A Very Tardy Wedding Quilt

My brother married his bride, Stephanie, in 2001. Well before-hand, I decided to make a wedding quilt for them, and I twisted our mom's arm into agreeing to hand-quilt it. Mom even purchased a Grace Company quilt frame especially for the purpose. Well, one thing led to another, and it was just over half quilted before Mom was unable to work on it any more due to her arthritis. There were three of seven rows of blocks remaining to quilt, along with the top borders.

Flash forward about 14 years... In all the time that it has been waiting to be finished, I knew I *could* finish hand quilting it, but I just didn't get my mind set to do it. One reluctance was remembering how rough and sore my fingers would get from even just a little bit of hand quilting. Last summer, I came across the "TJ's Quick Quilter" spoon, and I decided it was the answer to the problem. I tried out the spoon technique on a little bit of a small quilt (which I haven't actually finished, yet, either), and then I took the dust cloth off of the wedding quilt (still on its frame), and got to work.

Another problem I had to tackle was that the double extension on the bars of the quilt frame (to make it king size) were pulling in quite a bit, and I was afraid the whole thing would end up extremely wonky. With the outer edges drum tight, the center was not even tight enough to quilt. To address that issue, my father-in-law, Ron, made two small braces to put in the middle of the frame between the first-and-second and second-and-third bars of the frame. (Note that the Grace Company has apparently improved their bar system. Instead of having 2x2 wood bars with overlapping diagonal pieces for extensions, they have what looks like a PVC tube now. That would be far better... But I'm working with a circa 2000 frame. By the way, other than the sagging bar problem, I highly endorse it.)

Below, you can see the quilt on the frame without the braces.

wedding on frame - unsuported

Here's how it looks with the braces inserted on the back... not perfect, but much more "square."

wedding on frame

Ron made the braces in a family-member's wood shop, cutting them out on a jigsaw and sanding them down so they wouldn't rough up the quilt fabric.

Quilt frame braces

I machine embroidered the butterflies on every other block, a different color of thread for each block.

Stephanie and Dave - small butterflies

There is a quilted butterfly on the plain blocks. (Those are hearts in the wings.)

Stephanie and Dave - butterflies

I also embroidered flowers in the corner sashing blocks. All the embroidery was done on a Viking Rose embroidery machine.

Stephanie and Dave - big butterflies

The heart border is machine applique'd die-cuts that I purchased as a group from Keepsake Quilting.

Stephanie and Dave - green heart

The quilting in the sashing is a heart/vine pattern, and there is a frilly heart-feather pattern in the outer border.

I timed myself quilting the different motifs, and then multiplied over the number of each motif. Assuming my mom quilts at the same rate I do, there is about 325 hours of quilting (not counting marking, rolling, and other support time). I have no reasonable way to estimate the time it took to make the top. It seems excessive that it took 14 years to do 325 hours of quilting, but there was a considerable hiatus in there... Once I started, it took under four months to do the less-than-half remaining.

Stephanie and Dave

The tag tells the tale...

Stephanie and Dave - tag

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay