Archive for December, 2012

Reflecting on 2012

This last day of 2012 prompts me to look back at what I’ve created in 2012 and has me turning my thoughts forward to 2013.

I played with new techniques, painting on fusible webbing, screen printing, ice dyeing, and more. I continued with baby quilts – two more babies last year! I experimented with natural dyeing, using wild iris, rabbit brush, and indigo. I made great progress on my ocean waves quilt, and started an art quilt group.


Starting at the top left, going from left to right:

1. Painting on fusible webbing

2. Screen printing with dye

3. Personalized baby shower quilt for baby Owen

4. and 5. Dyeing fabric

6. Scrappy Coasters

7. Cathedral Windows Quilt

8. Bishop Map quilt

9. Dyeing fabric with Wild Iris

10. Ice dyeing fabric

11. Batiking fabric

12. and 13. Dyeing fabric and yarn with Rabbitbrush and Indigo

14. More ice dyeing

15. and 16. Piecing the Ocean Waves quilt

17. New look to SewSerena

18. and 19. Art quilt group: working on a series with the theme mosaic

20. Hand quilting the Ocean Waves

What does 2013 bring?

I would love to continue to work on opening an Etsy shop, dyeing fabric and yarn with natural dyes, hand quilting my Ocean Waves quilt, and challenging myself with the Art Quilt Group, working on a series of small quilts with the mosaic theme. And – crafty DIY projects for my wedding! I have a few ideas brewing and will be sure to share what I make here.

Wishing you a Happy New Year! See you in 2013.

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Chapter 4 – Mosaic

{This post is part of a series. To see additional posts on the same topic, click here.}

And from Monday night’s beginning of a block, I couldn’t resist continuing on. The blocks are so fun to put together, small enough that they don’t take long, and simple enough that my creativity flows, in a playful nature to try new things and go for it.

So this evening after work and dinner, I sat down in my sewing room and played.

IMG_4712Here’s my block as it was left after Monday. Ah – the beauty of what I’m doing now is – using fusible web! I think this will be a brilliant method as I make more mosaics. It was a breeze to cut out the squares, and when I liked the placement, I simply ironed them in place! Heck with the glue, I much prefer the fusible webbing.

So, the next order of business was to fill in the background. I noticed that my flower and stem colors closely matched the background fabric, not creating a lot of contrast. The flowers were almost getting lost, as the colors were too similar. So of course I thought of a light fabric, and again chose a light blue. My thinking went that the light color surrounding the flowers would help their shape and color pop.

IMG_4713As I was selecting my blues, I was drawn towards having a bit of variation, so I selected a range of darks and lights. Starting at the bottom, I cut and arranged dark blues. As I worked my way to the top, I kept cutting and arranging lighter and lighter blues. When I liked my layout, I ironed it all down, and was ready to sew.

IMG_4716Using the same method in the previous mosaic, I quilted each tesserae, but not between each tesserae, so they stand out strong and alone against the background fabric. I think the light blue fabric was a perfect choice, don’t you?


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{This post is part of a series. To see additional posts on the same topic, click here.}

Jumping around a little bit, Monday we met and worked on Chapter 4 – Collage.

collage, n. An artistic composition of materials and objects pasted over a surface (from French coller: to glue).

First though, we all shared our Chapter 2 quilt blocks, each in our chosen theme.

IMG_4695Marilyn’s block – bird theme

IMG_4696Margaret’s block – rock theme

IMG_4697Nela’s block – frog theme

IMG_4698Cathy’s block – abstract theme


Penny’s block – African theme

And then we got down to business, playing with collage. We cut out three shapes from fabric, and played with arranging our shapes on a 9″ x 12″ block. Then we went on to cutting a specific image out, and creating a collage around that.

IMG_4708Here’s the beginning of my second mosaic block, I cut out three flower shapes, arranging them on my rectangle, then added stems and leaves. I then cut these shapes into smaller pieces, starting on turning it into a mosaic.


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Chapter 2 Mosaic

{This post is part of a series. To see additional posts on the same topic, click here.}

For my first 9″ x 12″ block, I chose the color scheme earthy. In it, I had picked two browns, a light and dark, and a dark green. Pulling out my stash of dyed fabrics, I found three colors that followed the scheme and looked good together. I thought though that the mix could use some contrast, so I pulled out a light blue as well.

IMG_4679Taking my color pencils, I made a quick sketch in my journal of a circular mosaic pattern, using the colored pencils to note where which color would go where. Following my sketch, I measured out a 9″ x 12″ background fabric, and began cutting out small tesserae pieces from the fabric, and laying them down.

IMG_4686I used a spot of glue on each to hold it in place, chose various threads with matching colors, and began to quilt. I didn’t though, want the quilting to connect each piece. I wanted instead each piece of fabric to stand on its own, floating against the background color, as it might on a real mosaic. So after quilting each little tesserae, I raised my sewing machine foot, moved to the next tesserae, and began quilting again, all without cutting the thread but not sewing between tesserae.

IMG_4688Here, you can see the threads between each piece. It went quickly, and didn’t take much time at the end to sit a moment and clip each thread off the front and back, ending up with a nice, quaint, 9″ x 12″ mosaic.


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In a burst of enthusiasm tonight, I grabbed my hoop and lay out the quilt to begin quilting.

IMG_4628I’m still pondering my black squares – yes a wave – brilliant! But I can begin to quilt the triangles. Remember there are more than one thousand!


A little rusty, it’s been a while, I threaded my needle, put on my thimble, and began to sew. A little awkwardly at first, I imagine it is what it might be like riding a bicycle for the first time in a while, I slowly picked up speed and confidence, wielding my needle more expertly after a few triangles.


I think the thread color I chose is going to work perfectly, blending and contrasting with the many blues of the quilt. One episode of New Girl got me through nine triangles. A good start!


This is a historic moment, you know. I’m sure sewing triangles will become so ordinary I won’t even think to take pictures. For now, I’ll enjoy the novelty of the moment, reveling in the texture and pattern the quilting creates. Isn’t it lovely?

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Under the Sea

This morning I jumped out of bed, excited to baste the three layers of my ocean quilt together. I had arranged with a friend to borrow his living room for the morning, on account of the size and lack of furry animals there.


The first step was laying out the backing fabric, a dark blue I hand dyed. I lay out over that the batting, a nice cotton batting I purchased at our local craft shop. Over that, I lay the much labored over Ocean Waves pieced top. It took a few tries to get flat as the grain of the fabric in the many pieced triangles made the overall grain of the quilt wonky. Once happy with the three layers, I began to pin.

I have a large pile of pins from previous quilts, my favorite method of basting. Armed with an audio book as well, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, I began to pin, spacing out about six inches between pins. This is a bit wider I think then I’ve done in the past, since I had a lot of pins left at the end, so it will be interesting to see how all the layers hold up over time. Hopefully with no shifting!


Rolling up the quilt into a sandwich to transport home, I returned the living room furniture to its original position and began thinking of the next step with anticipation – the quilting!


The quilting thread I ordered – a soft gray blue – already arrived in the mail. I know for the borders I want to quilt in a waving fan pattern, for the triangles I want to outline their shape with straight stitching, but what about the black squares? Traditional Amish quilting has these blocks quilted often with a feather circle. So far my choices are very traditional, so it would follow and fit that I do that too. But the feather circles aren’t calling to me. What would you quilt in the black squares?

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