Posts Tagged ‘couching’

Barking up the Right Tree: Making Tree Bark

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

 

747 all time is spiral in a garden

There’s a reason to hug trees. The texture of tree bark is an incredible experience. Here’s a great way to recreate that texture using an applique technique and some simple machine couching.

applique scissorsI started with a special pair of scissors. Applique scissors have a special bend that makes it possible to cut straight to the edge of your stitching.  I free motion stitched two layers of brown hand dyed cotton. .I stitched my tree shapand stitched inside the  bark in chevrons. Then I cut into those chevrons  through the top layer through the channel. Then I clipped through the edges  up and down the stitching

 

 

tree bark stitched and cut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

restitched slashing Once the top surface has been slashed, I go back with my darning foot and irregularly  fold back and stitch the edges to make them textural.restitched slashing 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the bark is formed there are all kinds of chanels through the surface.

couching yarnscouching footI took all kind  of yummy heavy yarnd  and couched them in place using my couching foot.The couching foot has a special thread escape for larger yarns and cords.

 

 

 

 

couching

 

With the feed dogs up, couch the yarn through the chanels of raw bark. 

I love to use this trick when I’m working with wood or trees and I want something more than just brown hand dye.

Nifty Notions and Ginger both make applique scissors. Sadly I don’t know of someone who makes them for left handed people. 

 

 

747 all time is spiral in a garden detail672 Willow detail3

885 turtle in the lady slippers

Couching: Adding Wonderful Yarns to Your Work

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

 

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We all live and die for thread. But sometimes thread simply isn’t enough! Thicker yarns and cords are the natural extension for a more dramatic line in quilting and surface design. We can use them in a number of ways to accent and accentuate our work.

 

 

1Perhaps you’d like to decorate or cover a seam. These yarns are perfect for that.

 

Light Japanese Lunch

Light Japanese Lunch

Or you might want to create a line that helps complete a visual path through your piece. The small bit of yarn carries your eye right across the surface.

 

 

3Or it can function as an element within your design. Here I’m using two thick twisted yarns as branches hanging down from a tree off the edge of the quilt.

 

Thick threads and yarns are easy to include in your designs! But it isn’t as simple as simply sewing them through the machine. They’re too thick or uneven to put through either the top or bottom of your sewing machine. But they can be couched. The options and possibilities are too wide for simply one foot to handle all of them, but there are all kinds of feet that accommodate different yarns, ribbons and threads so you can use them all.

 

4All yarns can be couched by hand. But some of us don’t hand sew well. These are methods I find work well with machine couching. In general, couching is usually done with feed dogs up. You can use either a zigzag stitch,a broken zigzag stitch, a straight stitch if it’s aimed carefully, or a joining stitch that catches the middle and both sides. Monofilament nylon will make the stitching invisible. But you can always use a bright colored polyester to add an extra color and texture.

 

 

Your Regular Pressure Foot

 

 

 

 

Thin and bumpy threads: Many thick and thin threads can be couched on with your regular pressure foot
Your regular pressure foot for most sewing has a groove down the center that you can run light yarns through.

 

 

 

 

 

Couching Feet
Much thicker yarns take a thread escape.

 

A foot with a large channel underneath lets the yarn pass through. Again any zigzag or joining stitch can be used to attach it.
 This couching foot with a wide thread escape that let’s you couch on all kinds of thicker threads.This foot also has a small hole through the top to guide medium yarns. Medium yarns pass through both holes easily for excellent control.For much thicker yarns, you can just run them through the bottom of the foot. 

 

All these yarns run easily through your machine because of the large thread escape in the foot. They were stitched with a joining stitch.

 

The Braiding Foot

 

This braiding foot arranges 3 smaller cords or threads into a braid. The yummy pearl cottons I showed you last week are perfect for this. There’s another foot set to braid 5. The Braiding foot with 3 thread channels loads from the top and has a bar that closes to hold the threads in place. You can use either a zigzag or broken zigzag to stitch down the cords. The effect is a flat braid made of your threads.

Sashay yarn

19©2012 Bubbly, Ellen Anne Eddy, 18” x8”>>

 

Sashay yarn is a new fiber we’re seeing in the yarn shops. Its loose open weave can be stretched and shaped in all kinds of ways. Because it catches on the foot, it helps to have a cut away foot that clears the yarn as we sew it. This foot originally set up for cutaway applique with its single toe makes it easier to stitch down.

 

 

 

 

It can be sewed straight or in waves, down either one side for a more textural effect or on both sides for a more controlled look.
Couching is a way to put extra fiber in your fiber!  And its sew much fun!

One of the  new Quilting Arts tutorials has a couching video on it. Check it out for more information.

dyed threadsYou’ll find all kinds of cool yarns every where that can be couched. You’ll also find dyed pearl cottons on Raid My Fabric Stash, my new Etsy Shop.

 

 

Lost and Found! New Tutorials!

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

The resurrected vacuum Cleaner

The resurrected vacuum Cleaner

If there’s been a word for this year, it might be purge. It’s been my year for learning what color the carpet is in the office. It’s been my year for finding the top of the dining room table. It’s been my year to discover the recycling schedule and use it. 

All of that is a bit brutal, but it means several good things. One is that I’m clearing out things I really want to lose. I live in dread of the  Horders show truck pulling up to the front.

The other is that there are treasures between the garbage and the flowers, to quote Leonard Cohn. This was one of those. I found the tapes from  last year’s Quilting Arts Show.

Pokey asked me to show several things, We have that very cool buttonhole binding. And I showed some couching techniques you may not know about. I also did a show on the mysteries of darning feet. So now that they’re found, I can put them up for you!

 

You’ll find these, and other tutorials on youtube and also on my web page at http://www.ellenanneeddy.com/tutorials.php.

Are you ready for  Thread Magic Summer School? We’ll learn this year about color, contrast, and drama. Coming soon!

Now for Something Completely Different: Ellen Goes Crazy

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
Me and my altar ego

Me and my altar ego

I know. I know. I’m just noticing this now. Well that would be unobservant, wouldn’t it?

Pat Winter and I are opposites in a lot of ways. She works strictly by hand. I work by machine. She has a busy family. I live with cats and dogs. She stays at home. I wander all over the place. But she’s a dear friend and an amazing artist. We delight in each other’s work and world.

patwinterphotoPat is a majorly inventive crazy quilter with a gift for teaching and sheltering beginners. That’s lately been expressed in her Crazy Quilt Magazine. I’m writing a column for her on machine techniques that crazy quilters will find fast, fun and cool.

634 Wind over Water 2The world of crazy quilting is largely a hand stitched world. But there are a lot of reasons for adding in the amazing things your machine can do for you. I’m strictly a machine quilter for one simple reason: my hands don’t work for hand stitching. Don’t feel sorry for me. This is who I physically am.  This is who I’ve been all my life. It’s not a limit. It’s a feature. Instead, it formed me as a machinist. I can do things with my machine you may not be able to replicate by hand, no matter how long you have to work on it. And visa versa. Machine and hand quilting are both incredible tools, neither of them better or worse. But they do have their advantages. Pick and choose your techniques to make your life and art work for you. And never let anyone tell you one technique or another is right or wrong.

We’ve been working to make all quilting an art form for around 40 years. That’s demanded a lot of redefinition.  One of those definitions is about whether things are good or bad technique. Instead of that bold and, in my humble opinion, limited judgment we need to look at the work it self and say, “Is this cool? Does it open new doors? Does it make us all stronger? More able? More capable? How does it expand who we are and what we can do?

There are differing advantages between hand and machine work. I’ll state some of them, but remember that  they’re not global. A hand technique may give you exactly the stitch you want for a piece, but not for another. Look at each work and decide for yourself.  Use what works for you. Ignore anyone who has to make comments from the peanut gallery  

Hand stitching: Pluses

  • It’s quiet
  • Can be done anywhere you can bring it (Car, in front of TV, sewing group,etc.)
  • Relaxing:
  • Inexpensive for set up: all you need is needle and thread

Minuses

  • Slow: most techniques take a fair amount of time
  • Can hurt your hands (Carpal tunnel, tightened shoulder muscles)
  • Needs high skill level: much of hand stitching improves greatly with practice.

Machine Stitching: Pluses

  • Fast: what you can accomplish is amazingly faster
  • Most techniques are easily learned and take less skill
  • Put’s you and your work in the protected environment of your sewing room: do you want someone in the room asking where the orange juice is?
  • Protects hands and shoulders from repeated action stress
  • Allows people with hand disabilities to do amazing work

Minuses

  • Takes a machine and the cost of a machine. But not necessarily an expensive machine
  • Has to be in your sewing space. It’s not easy to move it into another room
  • Most people don’t consider it relaxing, although I do

I’ll be providing some machine techniques for Pat’s Crazy Quilting Magazine. The world is wide and we want to you all kinds of ways to accomplish the things you want to do most. Pick freely, try everything, and choose wisely for yourself.

12 couching thin yarnThe current issue has  an article on differing methods for couching yarn.

Next issue , we’ll talk about machine beading.

 

 

Check out these earlier posts about Pat Winter

Technology and the Dye Cup Fairy

Pat Winter: It’s Always the Quiet Ones

You’ll find Crazy Quilting Magazine on Pat’s blog site at http://gatherings100.blogspot.com/

crazy quiltingor at magcloud.com

Thread Magic Summer School: Novelty Yarn

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

 

So far we’ve talked about threads that go through  the machine and form a stitch. But there are ones that just don’t. Any thread that is too thick or goes from thick to thin can, of course, be used. You just have to couch it on instead.

Novelty yarn goes in and out of vogue with the quilt community, but your yarn shop always has it. And little quantities work beautifully, so you can get years of joy out of a single ball.

 

 

I prefer to use it to create an “air line” that continues the visual path of the piece. It’s a squiggle that helps your eye travel through the surface.

Couching with your regular sewing foot

How do you put it on? It’s simple. Instead of running it through the top or bottom, you couch it on.There are lot’s of different couching feet. But your regular pressure foot works just fine for thinner yarns.  Just run it through the grove.  Thread your machine on top with a cool thread to see or monofilament nylon if you don’t want to see it. Zigzag it down, feed dogs up. 

Novelty yarn creates great texture, interest, visual direction and a lot of old fashioned fiber-joy. It’s a pet you may need to dust but you won’t have to feed. And it’ a great addition to your thread stash.

Summer School is coming to an end. Your pop quiz is on the 20th! Make sure you know all the answers by reviewing now!

Remember the first three people who post their test results on facebook get their choice of a Thread Magic Studio Publication! And who says you don’t like school?

 

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