Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Free Motion Postcard for January

Monochromaticism seems to be the "in" topic for January.  The Fifteen by Fifteen challenge due February 1 is Monochromatic, and the theme for the January free motion quilting postcard exchange was a monochromatic color scheme with an all over quilting design. 

I chose to make a gradated flying geese card using blue Cherrywood fabric.  This was quilted with a design based on Angela Walters' arches pattern, using 100 weight Superior Threads 100 weight Kimono silk in two shades of blue.  The flying geese were paper pieced.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Beginning Sewing Student Work

I have been teaching Beginning Sewing classes for the City of Long Beach Parks and Recreation Department since 2002, using an apron pattern from Kwik Sew.  McCalls Patterns purchased the company, and the artwork for that pattern did not get to McCalls. Before I depleted their entire stock of patterns I had to find a replacement.  My criteria included that the pattern must have a style which is suitable for men and women,that it fit a wide variety of body types, that it be easy, that it can be made out of quilting cotton and that a beginner can make it in 3-4 class sessions. (The first class in my series is always a lecture/demonstration.)  It sounded easy, but in doing the homework and trying a few likely candidates from both independent pattern designers and the large commercial companies I found a number of problems.  One pattern did not provide a pattern piece for the ties, and assumed that people would rotary cut their own.  My students are often newbies who have never sewn before and do not own tools, so it is a large investment to add a rotary cutter, ruler and mat to their supply list.  Another pattern was cut on the open (i.e. across the 45" width of fabric), which would require two tables per student----not feasible with twelve students in a class!  Other patterns involved too many steps or had poor reviews on Sewing Pattern Review, a great site for sewing pattern reviews.  For the moment, I have settled on a pattern which comes in both an adult and a children's size and has an optional oven mitt for students who work fast.  Vanessa, was the first student to finish the project and she agreed that I could post a picture of her proudly modeling her first completed sewing project.

New Style Beginning Sewing Apron

Thursday, 1 January 2015

A New Year--------A Fresh Opportunity and a New Word for the Year

Happy New Year everyone.
I know that it has been a while since I have posted, and I have quite a bit of work to post!  I will gradually play catch up so you can see what I have been up to.
Today is the first day of 2015.  It was a glorious if cool day in Southern California.  We started the year off with a fairly short bicycle ride to eat breakfast at the The Beachcomber Café in the Historic District of Crystal Cove State Park, a former artists' colony.  It is worth watching the commercial on the café's website!  We took this photo a few weeks ago when it was warmer, but the tree was still on the beach today.  (Today we had warm jackets on!)

Each year, I try the practice of finding a word or a phrase for the year.  Last year I really struggled to find one, and my phrase never resonated.  This year the word relax found me.  No matter what other ideas I had it kept coming back.  so RELAX is the word I will try to keep in mind this year.  I am thinking of it in terms of not worrying so much and not getting paralysed by creative fear. 

To start the year out with some visuals, these are postcards made in December for two online postcard swaps.  One is a free motion swap and the other is for another online group.  The subject for the free motion swap (which is a one card swap) was a free motion machine quilting lesson prepared by Cindy Needham a couple of years ago, based on dividing an area.  ( while the subject for the second one was Prayers for Peace.

Cherrywood cotton quilted with Superior Kimono silk thread

Prayers for Peace front and back