Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Secret Sewing Becomes Secret Quilting

Can You See the Loose Threads?

Obviously, I could not before I took the picture or I would have removed them. They were from the first round of stitching that I did in the morning, and ripped out in the afternoon. I've had a lot of indecisiveness while designing this project.

Can I say up front that I don't do well with this Secret Sewing concept? I'd love to show you more, but the Hop isn't until January. If you're going to the Fall Market, this piece will be there. I've let a few dear friends see what I was involved with, but other than that I've been mum. This is the first quilt I've made entirely out of batiks so let me pass on a few things I've encountered.

Friday, September 16, 2016

2 A.M. Stitching Tips & Secret Sewing

Tickling the Ivories 
Quilting the Piano Key Border

Have you ever taken in so much in just one day you felt like a different person when you fell into bed? I had one Aha Moment after the next yesterday, and was so geared up I could barely eat supper. Seriously, me not eat? You can read about my first experience batiking with a tjap over on "One More Thing Before I Dye." Not eating meant I woke up starving at 2 A.M., and I quilted the next 2 hours until the family started getting up for work.

Here is a close up of the finished chocolate dotted border. There were places the rust colored Perle cotton extended into it, and others where I used the mint.

I didn't plan all the quilting out beforehand. I know most people do, but I try to stay open to ideas I get while in process. For instance, I know many quilters would only choose to quilt down one side of each 'key' in a piano key border. That would have worked with the batting I used--a bamboo/cotton blend, but I though visually it would look better with both sides of each key quilted.

To reduce the number of times I had to flip my frame, and a large, heavy quilt, I work with multiple needles and lines of thread. Here I have 3 going. I've quilted down the rows with each, and will turn the frame and bulk just once. When I'm done with the up and down sequence, I knot and bury all 3 at the same time. Knot the threads again at the same time, and continue. It sounds awkward, but I've timed it, and it's a great time saving method.

Last, but not least, I'm doing some secret sewing for Fall Market. Here's part of a background I'm constructing, and I've been snapping my photos in black and white for a balance of value. It's interesting to work this way without regard to the color. There's been so much behind the scenes sewing this year, it's hard not to show you something. 

I hope you're all working on something that excites you. I feel like this fall is just full of possibilities! Have fun!

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Announcing "One More Thing Before I Dye"

Divide and Conquer
the Fog

Pink Doxies has been a mysterious blog lately. I've been asking myself, "Am I a quilter blogger or an art blogger?" The answer was confusing. It's seems I'm both. This blog will remain Pink Doxies, and be devoted to the original concept of creating colorful, original quilts and sewing, and the new sister blog to my growing artistic passion. I think I can explain it best by redirecting you to One More Thing Before I Dye.

I would love to have you pop in for a moment, and say hello!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Fall Quilts, Wool, and Wool Dyeing In the Microwave


Summer has unofficially become fall here, though the calendar says it's still over a week away. It's 54 F this morning, and I'll have a cool studio today. I confess that sweltering heat does not bring out my creativity, and also that I've taken a little hiatus while coming to terms with my art and craft. Both points have made it more difficult to return to the studio daily, though I'm in and out. It's not an excuse, and there's no reason for me to apologize. It just is. You know, I'm finding that makes more sense to me recently. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Vintage Slow Stitching

The Luxury of a Slow Stitching Project

An upcoming long weekend away had me nervous for lack of a project to take along. I improvisationally pieced some simple log cabin blocks the night before. Though the project was started at the 11th hour, the idea had been brewing the whole week long. Something simple. Something graphic. Something old.

It feels like autumn here, and the morning light has changed, too. It's a cool light already, and hard to photograph white in. 

I spent the weekend at the beach while a tropical storm passed by us. We had winds and rain, but the electrical stayed on, and I stitched away in the midst of it all. 

No. 8 Perle cotton was an easy choice for over dyed vintage tea towels and feed sack. I used several shades of off white, grey, and as a request from my husband, some rusty orange.

There was only one rule: Make no plan. I stitched one section then the next randomly. Sometimes they matched up, and other times they echoed another part, but I made my decisions when I ran out of thread. I'd throw it on the floor, stand back a few feet, and pick a new spot. Instead of trying to stitch over the torn spots, I tried to emphasize the fact that this fabric had served someone well before it came to me.

If you're wondering whether there will be more slow stitching projects to come, "Oh, yes!" I loved this! I loved the tactile sensation of the coarse fabric, and ability to really feel what the piece was asking for. I would venture to say it was almost meditative. If you're looking for something out of the box to try this month for #BraveQuilter, you'll have company with me! You have until September 10th to link up, and there's a bundle of fabric waiting for the winner at the end. Be Brave!

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Round Robin Final Border and a Round Robin Link Up

Cindy's Block from Stitchin At Home

It's the final round for our Round Robin, and I think it's spectacular to see all 4 finishes. 

Cindy did the original center, and it arrived to Sandra at MMM! Quilts. Sandra added the surrounding border, and mailed it to Tish at Tish's Adentures in Wonderland. Tish mailed it to me, and I thought, "How in the world will I do this?" I wasn't alone. I think we all had a superb exercise in design!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

#BraveQuilter for September Is OPEN!

Slow Stitch Project

This week has been a push every day. I've been sticking to a list of things that need to be done, and it's been working. Staying on track can be hard when there are so many distractions, especially when you're surrounded by tempting fabrics. But we have a weekend break coming, and I had nothing portable to take and stitch. I kept thinking of these beautiful blue cottons I'd recently dyed, and my growing stash of feed sacks. Throw in some vintage buttons, and it just seemed to feel good together.

I wanted to show you a close up of the texture, and the buttons. It makes me fairly giddy! If someone had said to me a year ago I'd like this more primitive style, I'd have laughed. But I've been keeping an open mind to all kinds of styles, and still find there is something likable about them all. I guess as long as it involves fabric or thread, I'm brave enough to try. 

Do you have something new in mind to try this month? Then write a post giving us some details, and link it up here at Pink Doxies. Details are below. #BraveQuilter happens each month, and is here to encourage you and others to push yourselves just a little bit into learning new skills, and moving out of your comfort zone.

I encourage you to be a #bravequilter, and overcome something that is challenging you.

Do you want to...
Figure out zippers?
Learn to piece a Y-seam?
Learn how to knit?
Enter your work in a show?
Applique something--anything?
Dye fabrics?
Make a project with repurposed fabrics?
Make a block with curved piecing?
Paint with acrylics on fabric?
Take a class on something totally new to you?

We all have things we need encouragement with so I'm going to tell you to TRY ONE THING! Just one thing on your long list you choose to cross off this month, and link it up here. You can add it to a blog post this week, or simply tag it on Instagram. It doesn't have to be a big thing. 

For example, assuming you have never tried or 
mastered curved piecing, and would like to. 

*Add something like this below to a blog post. 
*Add a link somewhere in your post back to Pink Doxies. 
*Link up that post here.

"I'm participating in the Pink Doxies new link up, #BraveQuilter. As part of the #BraveQuilter link party for March, I promise to make one 12" block with curved piecing." 

Instagram could be a simple picture of your materials or any example of what you'd like to achieve, and say the same thing as above. Use the hashtag #BraveQuilter, and tag me @PINKDOXIES. 

Then DO it! Try it. If you wind up making something fabulous, cheers to you! If you try it, and maybe it's just so-so, cheers to you because you still worked at it. Maybe someone else will have some good words of advice to help you out. These do not have to be finished projects. We are taking small steps together to become better quilter, sewists, artists. We are celebrating the learning process.

The link parties normally stay open for one week. Because we've had a summer break, and are just coming back this one will be open today, and close September 10, 2016 at midnight EST. When you've completed your own challenge, write and publish a blog post or Instagram post. The link up for finished projects will be October 1-3. I will draw one winner to receive a small bundle of vibrant, hand dyed fabrics from Pink Doxies Studio, or perhaps another delectable thing for a quilter. You must link up both at the beginning and end of the month to be eligible for prizes. 

Remember: No one is asking you for a finished project of any kind. Pick something that is a personal challenge, and take it on. 

Be your own inspiration, 
and grow this year!

Life begins outside your comfort zone.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

Monday, August 29, 2016

What I Did Last Summer

Pinned and ready for many glorious 
evenings of hand quilting!

Summer's Accomplishments

I feel like I've spent my summer as a true holiday. Not R&R, but catching up. There are still many things on the long list, but we've powered through some Herculean tasks. Tree removal from the Emerald Ash Bore--6 mature trees, house and property restoration, and so on. Nothing that was neat and tidy, and it all spilled over onto the rest of lives. Piles of things in the house were designated by project, and that was disruptive in itself. I'm happy to report the chaos is about 80% contained now.

Rethinking My Work Space Needs

One thing I took a long look at this summer was how I organized my creative space. As my work was changing, my needs were, too. Big cubbies from IKEA stored my fabric, but visually cut my long, narrow work space in half. We installed castor units on them, and now they can be stored like library stacks at the end of the room. It opened up a large floor space at that end, and smooth concrete is perfect for stretching, taping, and pinning quilts. (Yes, that is a long arm, but not every quilt asks to be machine quilted.) It didn't take long to decide which quilt top (above) I wanted to get started on first.

Class Samples

If you're local, I'll be teaching a class September 13th, 6-8 p.m. at the Tent's of Grace Cafe here in Gnadenhutten. We'll be monoprinting on fabric to make some beautifully layered art cloth. These are perfect for spicing up your fall decor. Contact me by email if you're interested in joining the class.

The (Rip-Roaring) Doxies Quilt Is Done

I have several finishes to show you over the next few weeks. They were done over the summer, but reporting them here was splotchy. This quilt was promised for September so I put it on the frame early Sunday morning. I quilted the WHOLE thing, and everything looked good. I took it off the frame, and scrutinized it like we long armers do, and I was not happy. The tension was good while doing a straighter section, but not so much when I made a curve. There were no 'eyelashes' anywhere, but it didn't go into the fabric nicely like it should have. A few places it looked like the thread was not pulled in at all.

So...I put on some music, and I ripped it all out. I wasn't mad, but I will tell you I did some serious testing and adjusting before I started over. I learned a hard lesson, but perhaps just as tough was dealing with all the previous stitching lines. I had used a very large meandering, and the white space made it difficult to tell which was which.

Me, the Doxie Mama all covered up to mow, and getting ready for those of you who are coming to visit soon. I'm excited!


#BraveQuilter sign up will be open Sept. 1-10. Normally we link up finished projects the first several days of the month, and then sign up our intended projects following that. Since we've had a summer break, it will be open for sign ups the whole period. I hope you all join us in our brave pursuits of trying new things, and learning new skills. Is there something special you've been thinking of trying to conquer?

Until then...
Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

Linking up with~
Cooking Up Quilts
Em's Scrap Bag
Show and Tell with Bambi
Patchwork Times Design Wall