The person behind the Mask

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Wash your hands, practice social distancing, stay home and, now, consider wearing a face mask when outside of your own home.  These are the recommendations from federal and state governments during this current pandemic.

While following this advise, we can loose connection to the people around us.  We all need to reach out to our family members – our older parents who have had their ability to interact with their friends severely limited, our children (even adult children) who are home schooling or working from home, our friends whom we can’t see but can certainly talk with over the phone and internet, and our neighbors.

Everyone has a story.  And, while we are wearing our masks, we should consider their story and do what we can to help where needed. 

With the current recommendation for mask wearing, my son asked if I could make a couple masks for his girlfriend who works part-time at Target.  Her story is that she is a high school senior.  Like so many students, she is now separated from her friends and doing on-line classes.  And, she will be missing out on all the fun activities of her senior year – senior prom, senior project presentations, graduation, grad parties, etc.  On top of that, two weeks ago I implemented a quarantine for our family.  So she has not been able to spend time with my son. She is also working very hard at her part-time job.  To help support her, the least I can do is make some masks. 

Using the pattern described at North-Memorial-Health-homemade-healthcare-masks, I made some masks.  My son wanted plain black.  His girlfriend wanted a red one and a yellow one. 

This pattern has an internal pocket to insert a piece of HEPA filter material to  improve the effective filtration.  I also modified the mask slightly to add a nose wire for improved contouring to the face.  After topstitching around the entire mask, I stitched a channel 1/2″ from the top of the mask.  A pipe cleaner folded in half and inserted it into the channel can be molded to the bridge of the nose.  

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Masks made from my fabric stash.

When thinking about making masks, I thought it would be nice to try to make some fun animal faces.  Using my Bernina DesignWorks software, I created a few patterns.

A couple cat faces:

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Black cat, Rabbit, Bear and Dog:

 

I may try some other embroidery ideas soon.

Home

Over the past days, the governor of Minnesota has issued numerous executive orders that have impacted my life, the latest of which is Emergency Executive Order 20-20.  This order directs Minnesotans to “Stay at Home” for the next two weeks. Since my dental office is shut down and my son returned from NYC,  I have already been staying home.

With some of my unexpected free time, I have finally finished a quilting project that I started a while ago.  The inspiration of this quilt came from my sister-in-law.  Last summer, she asked me to design a wall quilt of the Paris skyline for her to make.

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Brief directions to make the background of a skyline quilt.

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After I designed her quilt, I thought I would make something similar – a wall quilt of the twin cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul.  For the background of the wall quilt, I followed the instructions I had written for my sister-in law, except I used blue batik fabrics from my stash, rather than purple.

The background was loaded onto my quilting frame and quilted with evenly spaced horizontal lines.

For the skyline, I found several images on-line.  By combining ideas and removing most of the white areas,  I had a nice skyline of Minneapolis and St. Paul. 

After importing these images into my Cameo software, I cut the pattern of the skyline out of starched black cotton fabric that was sandwiched between Heat-N-Bond Lite and freezer paper.

These silhouettes were then ironed onto the background. Using several different quilting fill patterns, I then quilted detail to differentiate each of the individual buildings.IMG_4391IMG_4392

Because the Twin Cities are known for the numerous parks and parkways, I added  green fabric along the bottom edge to depict the landscaping of the cities.

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The wall quilt was then bound and ready to hang. 

Over the past week while looking at the wall quilt, I felt it needed something more.  Last night I augment the design with some “bling”.

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With the help of one of my sons, I found a Star Constellation Chart. Using 3 mm heat transfer rhinestones, I replicated the constellations that would be visible over the Twin Cities. I also added some rhinestone on a few of the towers. 

Hometown wall quilt complete!

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As I went for my walk this morning, I was reminded that this may be my “hometown” for now.  And, my home may be impacted by the events of today. But I need to look past today’s news and worries about tomorrow, and take comfort in the fact that my hope is not bound to the circumstances of this world. In short – this world is not my home – my home is indeed in Heaven. 

 

 

Papillon/Butterfly

I love butterflies. They are colorful, graceful, almost ethereal. Because I like them, I have used them in my craft projects, such as:

Quilting:

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Butterfly Art Quilt
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Butterfly Pillow

Fabric Dyeing:

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Images from backing of Butterfly Art Quilt

and Fused Glass:

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Butterfly Wall Art
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Butterfly Garden Art

 

Butterfly Necklace
Butterfly Necklace

Recently, an email from a yarn store featured several new patterns. The Butterfly/Papillon shawl pattern by Marin Melchoir caught my eye. Later that same week, while shopping a a local yarn store (Three Kittens, Mendota Heights, MN), the owner was wearing the shawl.  Written for fingering weight yarn, this was the weight of yarn she had used for her shawl.  I really liked the pattern, so I purchased it.  However, I wanted the shawl to have more “movement”.  So, instead, I knit the shawl in lace weight yarn, using the indicated needle size.  This created a softer, lighter version of the shawl, but the same size as the pattern. 

I really like how the shawl turned out.  However, I’m not sure whether I will make another.  This shawl took about 40 hours to complete!

The Minnesota Great Get-Together

img_2410.jpgThe Minnesota State Fair is currently taking place.  If you are not from MN, you may not realize how big our state fair is.  While MN only ranks 12th in size and 21st in population, it ranks second in state fair attendance, with over 2 million people attending each year.  This is just behind Texas at 2.25 million visitors.  However, Texas is second in land mass, second in population, and their state fair runs for 24 days (twice the length of the MN fair).  Thus, I would say that the Minnesota State Fair outranks even Texas.

The fair is so popular that, even on a rainy morning like today, there were lots of people in attendance.  What do people like to do at the fair?  When I asked some of my friends, they replied: eat the food, attend a concert, eat the food, see the animals, eat the food….

I think you get the picture – there is lots of food to eat if that is what you are interested in.

For me, the State Fair is a place to go to see the craftsmanship and creativity in the Arts and Crafts Building. Today was no exception.  After getting very wet walking from the transit center to the A&C building, I spent a couple hours walking around taking pictures.

Here are my quilts:

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Me (with my wet hair) in front of “Burst Doll Quilt”, which received a first place in the child quilt category.

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“Burst” bed quilt received a second place in the pieced bed quilt category.

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My reversible tree quilt “Childhood Memories” received a second place in the mixed techniques category.  Unfortunately, you can only see one side of the quilt and none of the shadow painting.  

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“Window on My World” placed fourth in the wall quilt category.  I re-entered it this year because I was surprised that it did not place last year and knew that there was a different judge this year. 

Some of the other quilting highlights:

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Sweepstakes winner – Mary Alsop

 

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Best Hand Applique – Terri White

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Best Machine Quilting – Marilla Schmitt

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Knit & Bolt Award – Susan Nevling

 

Some other crafts that caught my eye:

 

“Childhood Memories” – finished quilt

 

When designing a quilt, I like to plan the quilting at the same time as the piecing.  This allows me to think about adding something unique to each quilt.  My recent project for the two sided tree quilt was no exception.

The quilting of the tree, leaves and background would be fairly straightforward.  Wanting to add something special to the quilt, I thought about what I could add to the tree.  One idea was to place flowers or shrubs at the base of the tree.  Another was to add some animals.

My final idea, and the one I actually used, came while reviewing some photos from my childhood.  These photos brought back memories of things growing up.  I decided to add theses memories to the quilt.

I needed to invoke the idea of a memory without overwhelming the quilt.  To do that, I planned to used only thread to make the images appear very faint.  After stitching, I realized  that the images were there but extremely hard to see.  Having recently purchase some textile medium (InFusion Textile Medium) that was very lightweight (did not stiffen the fabric) and shiny, I decided to use this to enhance the visual effect of the memories.

I am really happy how they turned out.  If you look closely at the images, you will see a boy leaning against the tree reading a book, a girl on a tree swing, and their faithful dog laying on the ground near them.

Painting

 

Here are the full images of the quilt front and back:

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Hand applique and embroidery

How do you applique a two sided quilt?

You think, think, plan, think some more, plan again and then finally jump in and do it.  That kinda describes the process I went through when contemplating the idea of embroidering an identical tree on both sides of a quilt.

Idea #1

  •  adhere light weight fabric adhesive to the back of two pieces of fabric for the tree trunks
  • draw the tree trunk onto the fabric and cut out two identical trees
  • adhere the tree to one side of the quilt and baste in place
  • adhere the tree on other side and then machine embroidery through all layers of the quilt and tree
  • machine quilt the details onto the tree
  • Concern – machine quilting will cause the quilt to be “flattened” and lining up the edges of the tree on each both sides of the quilt would be difficult

Idea #2

  • baste stitch the outline of the tree onto the quilt
  • cut out fabric to match the tree
  • use needle turn embroidery to stitch the tree onto each side of the quilt
  • machine quilt  the details onto the tree
  • Concern – it might be difficult to control the amount of fabric involved while doing hand embroidery

Idea #3

  • pin large pieces of the tree fabric to both sides of the quilt
  • machine quilt the tree details onto the tree
  • trim the fabric approximately 5/8″ – 3/4″ away from quilting details
  • use needle turn embroidery to stitch the fabric to the quilt
  • This was ultimately the idea I decided to use for the trees, sun and moon

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Daytime detail:

I decided to hand applique leaves onto the daytime side of the quilt.  To do this, I pinned pieces of green fabric onto the quilted tree.  Then I machine quilted the outline and veins of a leaf onto each piece of fabric.  After cutting around each stitched leaf, I used needle turn embroidery to secure the edges of the fabric.

Nighttime detail:

I did not want to use the same technique on the nighttime side of the quilt. So, after completing the daytime side, I used the quilting lines as a guide to paint faint green fabric dye onto the leaves and then hand embroidered outlines around the leaves.

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Unfortunately while quilting the leaves onto the daytime side, my long arm machine handles fell off the machine while I was working on a leaf.  When this happened, the needle broke and the broken needle tore the fabric through all layers of the quilt.  This picture shows that even on the backside of the quilt, the broken needle tore the fabric. I was really bummed!

To fix the tear, I could applique a leaf onto the daytime side.  But, how do I fix the tear on the nighttime side.  I could applique leaves on this side as well.  However, that was more applique then I really wanted to do.  And, I had really wanted the two sides of the quilt to use different techniques.  This was really frustrating.

Ultimately, I decided to add a bit more detail to the quilt.  By appliqueing an owl on the nighttime side and a cardinal to the daytime side, I was able to repair the quilt and no one can even tell that the quilt was torn.

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A good repair and some nice details for the quilt! I have added more details to the quilt that were really fun to do.  I will post about those soon.

A two sided quilt – sounds easy, right?

You have probably seen adult coloring books in stores over the past few years.  Meant as a way to unwind from daily stress, these books can take an adult back to their childhood days of coloring.

Since my crafts are my way to relax at the end of a day, I have not purchased any of these coloring books.  I have however, looked at the books in stores.  The pictures are complex and do provide great inspiration for quilting patterns and applique designs.

Last summer, I paged through one of these coloring books with trees.  Each design featured a tree with unique patterns.  Some of the designs had animals in the trees – owls, birds and even cats. One day I may make one of these, perhaps a tree with many different owls appliqued on the branches.

Directly next to the display of coloring books, was a different display featuring paper craft ideas. One idea showed strips of wrapping paper cut and glued horizontally in the background, and featured cutouts of black or white paper animals, flowers or trees as the main object.  Sorry, but I did not think to take a picture of the display. But, it was a really nice idea.

This idea stuck with me, and besides thinking about making some greeting cards with the idea, I realized that a quilt could be made with a similar design.  At the time I first saw the display, my paper craft supplies were buried in the back of my craft storage closet, so the cards would need to wait.  But, I did have lots of fabric that I could utilize for a quilt.

So, I set out to work on my new design.  Many of my batik scraps were blue and green, which would work well for the background of a tree.

Sorting through the fabrics, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a the colors to depict a tree during the daytime, the nighttime, or an unsorted scrappy look.  After playing around with a graphic program, I ruled out the scrappy look because it was too chaotic for my liking.  But, I simply just couldn’t decide which of the other two I preferred.  So, I thought I would try something new and make a two sided quilt – one side with bright daytime colors, the other side with darker nighttime colors.  After cutting 2 1/2″ strips, the fabrics were sewn together with some shorter pieces inserted periodically to add some variation to the background.

Since I had decided to try to make the applique exactly reversible, the quilting the front and back together would need to be done next.  When loading the pieced backgrounds onto my long arm machine, I realized that making a completely reversible quilt was going to be rather difficult.

This year, in particular, my ideas for quilts have been easy in the planning stages, but more challenging when actually sewing.  This quilt was no exception.  On paper, it looked straightforward – sew the strips, load it on my quilting frame and quilt away.  Right!  Actually, wrong.  Lining up so many seams on the front and the back of the quilt prior to machine quilting was definitely not easy.  I discovered that even though my piecing was exact, the number and location of the seams impacted the stretch and movement of the two pieces of fabric.  I ended up having to pin along each seam of the layers to try to get my quilting to look right on both the front and the back of the quilt. IMG_1042

Backgrounds

Once the backgrounds was quilted, I decided to get my least favorite part of any quilt (the binding) done before I  would start work on the appliqued tree.  More on that in my next posting.

Since moving into my newer sewing room, my paper craft supplies are now accessible, so cards can once again be made.  That project will be included in a future post as well.

Millefiori Garden Bed Runner

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Having been busy recently with several intricate and time consuming projects, I have not posted anything for a few weeks.  I will be posting progress on these newer projects soon.  But, in the meantime, I thought I would post something I completed earlier this summer.

While going through photos of my quilts with a friend, I ran across a project that I had not posted pictures of.  This bed runner was inspired by a pack of fat quarters that I saw at a local fabric store.

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Kaffe Fassett “Paperweight” fabric

The fabric made me think about some fused glass supplies that I have in my glass room – millefiori beads.  The term millefiori is a combination of the Italian words “mille” (thousand) and “fiori” (flowers). These beads are created by first making pattern rods.  On the outside, these rods are a single color. But, when cut across, the pattern becomes visible.  This multi-step process requires skill and special glass furnaces.  The results of this labor-intensive process are gorgeous “beads” that can be incorporated into earrings, pendants, bowls – any variety of fused glass projects.  While I do not have the skill and equipment to make my own millefiori, I have purchased some and love the look of them.

So, when I saw this fabric, I thought I would use it in a bed runner to add a real pop of color to my bedroom.  The design for the runner was based off of a photo of a quilt posted on the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. While her project was made with patterned wool felt, I wanted to use my sewing machine’s decorative stitches to create the the pattern in the flowers.  Going through my scraps of fabrics, I appliqued my “flower garden” and then used the lovely “Paperweight” fabrics for the border.

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This was a really fun project to do.  And, as an added bonus, I used up a lot of small scraps that were piling up in my scrap basket and too small to use in most piecing projects.

Window on My World – applique.

It has been a while since I have posted.  But, after the holidays were over, I returned to working on the landscape quilt for my wall.

After piecing the backgrounds, the next step was to consider what to applique onto each seasonal panel.  Since this wall quilt is meant to be a memory of my backyard, I wanted to include things in my yard. Some shapes were cut by hand – trees mainly.  The rest of the shapes were cut using my Cameo.
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Winter / Midnight

A few evergreen trees
An apple tree
Animals – deer, rabbit, cardinal and bird

 

 

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Spring / Sunrise

Apple and lilac trees
Trellis with bench swing
Another Rabbit
Family Pets – two of our cats – Squigglez and Onyx

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Summer / Midday

A few more trees
Trellis, sun
Duke, our Yorkie, barking at Onyx
Comet, one of our former cats, climbing a tree

 

Autumn / Sunsetimg_1830

A few more trees in fall colors
Squirrel
Striker, our former German Shorthair Pointer

 

 

After taking the photos, I decided that I needed to add something in the foreground of the two center panels.  Since we actually have a fire pit in our backyard, I added one, split between the  two panels.  An Adirondack chair on either side of the fire pit completed the applique designs.

Next up, quilting and hand embroidery, should be finished soon.

Winter Wonderland

Our first significant snowfall of the season has come.  We now have about 5 inches of snow, making my yard look like a winter wonderland.

While I am not very fond of driving in the snow and I really don’t like the cold weather that comes with it, I do like how pretty the snow looks.  The beauty of the snow comes just as I finish a table runner for my kitchen to use at Christmas time. I saw a lovely bargello runner a few years ago and decided that was what I wanted to make.

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Bargello Quilting

Bargello is a type of needlepoint embroidery that consists of upright flat stitches made to create motifs that depict motion.  The name originates from  a series of chairs in the Bargello palace in Florence, Italy, which have a “flame stitch” pattern.  Traditional designs are very colorful and use many hues of the same color for a shading effects that creates the sense of movement.

A bargello quilt is one that is made of strips of fabric sewn together to create the movement similar to that seen in bargello embroidery. The technique looks difficult, but is actually quite easy. If you can sew a straight seam, you can do this! Even though there appears to be  smany curves and shapes featured on the quilt, there is no curved piecing whatsoever.

All ranges of color are used, from light to dark. When choosing colors, there are many choices. A common option is a variety of shades in a single color family for a monochromatic quilt. Another common option is two complementary colors. That is why I decided to use this technique for my table runner – red and green are complementary colors and would work well for a bargello quilt.

Strips are cut at a specific width and sewn together lengthwise – I used 2″ strips of fabric that, when sewn, would finish to 1 1/2″ wide . The first and last strips are sewn together lengthwise forming a tube of strips with  the seam allowances facing out.

The tube is then cut vertically (opposite of the direction that they were sewn) to make many narrow loops. For my table runner, the strips were cut in the following widths:

1/2″   3/4″   3/4″   1″   1 1/2″   2″

These loops are then opened at the seam between different pieces of fabric and then sewn together.

To add the ornaments, I used my Bernina cutwork tool to cut and embroider different colors of fabric and thread. Some were simple circles, some slightly more complicated shapes with embroidery to depict decoration on the ornaments.

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This was a fun project to make!