Posts Tagged ‘fiber art’

Making Dragonflies Fly Part three: Differing Paths

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

wind over water 8

Here’s the final installment of Making Dragonflies Fly! You’ll find it here and on youtube. I hope it sends you skittering into your sewin room wanting to stitch. It features Inn Fuse, Innovative Craft’s new Fusible film.

It’s one of my favorite techniques. But it’s certainly not the only one.

There’s a phrase I use in class that I know drives people nuts. They’ll ask me if this is how I always do something. And I’ll say”Yes, except when I don’t.” Idt sounds flip. It’s never meant that way. It is what I do except when I don’t. The world is a complicated place and my studio is too. And for reasons of effect and energy, I don’t feel tied to one way of doing anything.

What we’ve showed in these three videos is free motion applique. It’s a great way to make a bold statement with fragile fabric. It’s a way to use really beautiful textures in a piece.

Is it the only way? Why in heaven’s name should there be only one only way?

I also feel that way about people’s life decisions, child rearing, dog taming and general weight control. The world is wide. Try different things.

But most especially about art.. Art has two componenets. There’s the making of art, the skills involved. And then there’s what happens while you’re working. If you don’t develope the skills, you limit yourself. That’s ok.. Tomorrow is another day and you have days after that to stretch and grow.

If you don’t go in and just make art, you have no reason for those skills. It’s like having a very powerful engine that’s not connected to anything. Of course the point is balance. You know the edges I’m dancing on here. The person who makes the same quilt forever in the same way over and over. The person who takes class after class and everything looks like the last class. These are points in process. They’ll get there. So will you. So will I.

So I thought I’d walk you around the ways technique changes me. I have a number of dragonflies (they’re myself traveling, so I can’t help but do them) done in different technique.

Free motion applique is fused and then stitched with a free motion zigzag. It gives lots of impact, lots of presence. It’s a great way to use amazing fabric.

Dragonfly in Bloom
Dragonfly in Bloom

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

There’s dragonflies made strictly of thick thread in the bobbin. If they’re stitched directly into the cloth they’re more subtle and more part of their environment.

blue moon896 Moonrise SwampThen there are dragonflies made as separate embroidered appliques of pure stitching. They’re done with thick thread in the bobbin.These are bold and electric images.

Moonstruck
Moonstruckectric thread compositions.
895 Wind over Water 7
wind over Water 7

Could I choose? Would I choose? Like most things, everything has it’s season and time. And I will do them all.

What we bring as quilt teachers to you and your guilds is options. Choices. Information about what is available and how to use it. Can you gather that information on your own? Of course you can. With world enough and time.

But isn’t it nice to learn from people who can help you know?

eddy class brochure_Page_01webThere still are spots in my schedule for 2014. If you’d like to have me come to your guild with a suitcase full of choices and skills, check out my class catalog at Issuu, Or check out my classes page at http://www.ellenanneeddy.com/classes.php

 

Making Dragonflies Fly Tutuorial Part 2 Patternless Applique

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

853 dragonfly in bloom

 

 I have very little patience with patterns, recepis, instructions and general directions. My mother had a phrase for it. She called it a being a pig on ice. What it  meant was that you were being a large and confused creature who needed help and refused it in all forms. Of all people, she should have known. She had her own moments of skidding across slick surfaces.

It’s not that I can’t take direction. It’s that I want to know enough about something that the directions can be veryloose. And I want what I do to be unique.

This is why I teach patternless applique. This is why I do it. I want that freedom. I want you to have that freedom.

So for this video I show you how to form a dragonfly of sheer and brocade fabric just by cutting. 

inn fuse-4.part2 2

 Why? 

Because it’s so simple and fun that even a pig on ice such as myself can’t help but make a great dragonfly every time!

 

 

 

 

infuseAgain, we’re testing out Inn Fuse the new fusible craft film from Innovative Craft. And we tested it here on

  • brocade
  • glitter organza
  • tissue brocade
  • lame

You know, the fabrics you wanted to use but you were scared. Well slide over her, over onto
the ice and join us. It’s a lot of fun.

Thread Magic Garden

Thread Magic Garden

Thread Magic Garden also has more information on patternless applique and

making dragonflies fly! You can find it on my web site,on Amazon or at C&T

Next week we’ll show you the third part of the tutorial, stitching soft and hard edge applique!

10799_SP_Part2 (1)_Page_12

Couching: Adding Wonderful Yarns to Your Work

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

 

2

 

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.

 

 

Raid My Fabric Stash: A New Etsy Store

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

 

The resurrected vacuum Cleaner

The resurrected vacuum Cleaner

 

New Etsy Store

New Etsy Store

 

 

 

 

I have just risen triumphant over my vacuum cleaner again.Those who know me know there is a ritual vacuum cleaning in my house once every seven years, if needed. It’s not quite that bad but close. I have to have a task I really don’t want to do do get around to vacuuming first. Say like cleaning out the basement cat pottie. Digging out the 85 rogue dock plants on the side yard.  Finding what really is in the refrigerator.

I got all the dogs into the yard to avoid attack mode on either side. And turned it on.

The noise was astonishing. The response, not so much. The little tornado inside simply didn’t step up. So I turned it on its head and went about a game called “What’s your mechanical perversion?” Usually that’s a one to five minute round  exercise.

Not this time. It didn’t take long to discover the cloth bedroom slipper stuck in the rotor. Pulled that  out. Fired it up. More non-action.

So we attacked with a screw driver to find the busted belt and there is was.  A trip off to the store and back, belt in my pocket. Got the belt on and still no action.

So as a final act, I took the broom handle out for a walk and jammed it up  the hose. All the way.

Out popped an odd and awful thing that I think once was a chunk of wood. It’s now sucking in a much more acceptable way.

ellen webThe point to all of this is that it ought to easier. Sometimes it simply isn’t. It isn’t like there’s a simple fix. There’s the round after round of hits and answers to those hits that in themselves should be small, but as a group, they’re devastating. And one fix alone won’t do it. 

I’ve just had this happen in a medical way as well. Two months ago I ended up briefly in the hospital for what looked like a heart attack. It turns out I have massive high blood pressure which can easily be medically controlled.  But, because of the medical systems in place, my only option to discover this was an emergency room visit and an overnight hospitalization. 

I’m healing and my meds are regularized. But the financial consequences are overwhelming.  I’m in the process of negotiating that, but in that economy it may still be career ending.  As a working person with a small amount of money, there is no chance of medical monetary aid. As a single self employed person there is no way to purchase meaningful insurance. I am uninsured and pretty sure that the hospital will demand what I have, even if it impoverishes me and takes my studio.

eddy class brochure_Page_01webSo, like the vacuum cleaner, I have a few simple tools. I am still able to teach and am delighted to continue that. It’s been my life. I hope it continues to be my life. If your guild, group or store would like me to teach, that would be wonderful. You’ll a find a complete list of classes on my site  and a full class catalog on  on scribd.com

 

 

 

I have a mountain of fabric that I’ve collected over the years. I’m going to begin to destash, and I invite you to Raid My Fabric Stash, a new Etsy store started by my truly desperate self. And remind you that I have the mother of all stash of sheers, hand dyes, and other wonders. I invite you to raid my stash. We’ll have new offerings up every week. We’re starting with some fabric/fiber inspiration kits. More will be coming soon.

If you’ve ever wanted a quilt of mine, this is the time. Check the web site,  see if there’s a piece you would like and contact me directly. I can offer a 30-50% discount depending on the piece. Call me and we’ll make that happen. I’ll also list some pieces on the Etsy site just to see what happens. 

It really should be easier. But it’s not. I don’t like to ask for help. But I’m trying every way I can, to figure my answers out.

Bless you!

Ellen

 

One More Time with Feeling: Working in Series:Dancing Trees

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

The Nature of Nature is variance.

Sometimes an idea you have just can’t be exhausted by doing one quilt. There’s a wild experience that happens when you work in series. I’m going to do a series of blogs on some of the ideas that have grabbed me by the neck and not let go. What happens in the end is the answer to the 1,000 what ifs. What if I do it in red? What if it’s flying instead of sitting? what if it’s in the moonlight? Sunlight? Shade? What if I only use one color? What if? What if?  What if?

Finally there’s the what if I know more.A quilt that I could only do one way five years ago may have many other options now.

When I was a child, we took a train trip up from Streator to Chicago every year. It was a bit of a dull ride for a five year old. So my mother told me all the bare trees were dancing in the wind. Remembering this started a series I still love to play with.

Early Trees

These are some of the first trees I played with. They featured cut-away applique and lots of lace and metallic fabrics for foliage.

 

Here are some of the trees where I started to incorporate bodies in the forms.
 Finally I felt confident to blow them up to forest size.
This represents about 15 years worth of trees, dancing and otherwise. Did they all work out as well as I hoped. Of course not! My best teachers are my errors.
Could I have made one without the others? Maybe. But I suspect it wouldn’t have happened. One leads to another which leads to another. It’s a path of breadcrumb ideas spread forward, instead of backward. A good series does that.
We’ll look at some more series for fun. I hope you try it yourself. If it’s a good idea, it’s a great idea to “what if” at.

Classes at the National Quilt Museum

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Source: bing.com via Ellen Anne on Pinterest

There’s two really great things about quilt classes at the National Quilt Museum. One is that it’s the National Quilt Museum and the people who come to class here are spectacular. The other is that it’s the National Quilt Museum, which is the epicenter of support, information, and exposure for quilters and especially art quilters. Don’t think you won’t see spectacular traditional quilts. You will. But the art quilts there are of a caliber that makes my heart sing. It’s a bit of quilt heaven in every way.

I taught a three day class here that made my heart sing too. Astonishing students! We worked mostly on flower studies out of my new book Thread Magic Garden. But what they came up with was their very own.

 

Top it off with a lunch at Caryl Bryer Fallert’s Bryer Patch Studio.Caryl is a quilting legend whose work has revolutionized the quilt world for 30 years.  Caryl graciously had us all to lunch and showed off her latest work and her fabulous Paducah studio.

 

Here are some images from class. If you’d like to see more, check my facebook page at Thread Magic Studio.

What a class like this does is really build all kinds of skills. The luxury of three days in class (and a late evening session) means that people get to refine what they’re learning into what they do.

From my point of view, I’m still bending my head around the notion that these people have a quilt of mine in the museum. It’s still a moment standing in front of Dancing in the Light in a museum setting and saying, “Yep. That one’s mine. I’m still looking for the other Ellen Eddy who must have quilted it.

So support the National Quilt Museum either by visiting or by becoming a friend of the museum. Take lovely 3 day classes when you get the chance to really dive into a new technique with a teacher.  And celebrate this brave new world where we have real museums that support, preserve, show and educate quilters as the artists we know that we are.

You’ll find  information about the National Quilt Museum on their web site at http://www.quiltmuseum.org/.

You’ll find more information about Caryl Bryer Fallert on her web site at http://www.bryerpatch.com/

You’ll find the gallery pictures on my face book page at https://www.facebook.com/ellenanneeddy. If you’re from class and you want to tell more about those pictures, log in and you can!

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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Thread Magic Summer School: Hand-dyed Threads

Monday, July 16th, 2012

We’ve talked about the commercial thick metallic threads. They’re yummy.As your asking yourself, “What more could you need?”, think of this. They don’t come in very good variegations. 

Variegated thread is sort of a mixed blessing in almost all the commercial threads. There are two basic types. There are threads variagated through rainbow colors. These make great stippling threads. The color changes carry your eye across the surface and they’re very interesting for that. But they’re miserable to shade with. Who, over the age of three, wants a random rainbow colored anything? It’s a serious limit. 

They also come with small variegations, that range around one color. Again, it’s a limited effect. Finally you’ll find pearl cottons that range in value from white to the darkest tone of the color. This works for flowers, but for anything else, it looks like it fades in and out. These threads were never made to shade solid images.

#5 weight pearl cotton

This is why I dye thread. I’ve learned that the best way to color an image is to have a range of colors, light to dark and then to add a shader for weight and a shocker for interest. With thinner threads, you pick your colors one by one. But thicker threads fill up quicker and don’t have enough space to let you do that. So when I dye my own threads, I dye in that range and a shocker or shader( sometimes one color works for both purposes) so that thread will automatically shade as I stitch.

The threads I dye are #5 Pearl cottons. They’re made from mercerized cotton and dye beautifully! And they’re already washed out and needle ready( I wash out all my red threads an extra time, just to insure their color fastness). Slightly larger than the #8 metallics, they are a perfect thread for bobbin weight work.

You could dye smaller or larger threads. It’s a matter of taste. But it helps that #5 comes in a dyers hank( a loop of thread, as apposed to a wound up spool).

It sounds complicated. But the dyeing makes it a simple coloring exercise. And I never stay within the lines, so I don’t see why you should either.

Pearl cotton and metallic mixed

You put these threads in an adjusted  or bypassed bobbin and stitch from the back. The results are spectacular.  I used to believe that you shouldn’t mix pearl cotton with metallics. Boy was I wrong. It’s trickier for shading but incredibly lovely. I often add either black  or iridescent white Candlelight  for details and to outline.

If you wish to dye your own pearl cotton, it’s very easy. There’s a whole how to section in my Dye Day Workbook. You can also order pearl cotton from me. Email or call me and we’ll set up a box where you can pick what you want and send back the rest. 

We’re almost through our summer school sessions. We have two lessons left and then it’s time for the pop quiz. Bone up, review and get ready.

Thread Magic Summer School:Thick Metallic Threads

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Mooning

We’ve talked about all the needle usage threads. Thicker threads (sizes #5-8) can be run through the bobbin of your machine and are instant gratification.

The metallic thick threads are especially yummy. Because they’re thick, they build up an image very quickly. And being metallic, shiny and gorgeous doesn’t hurt either.

What’s the catch? They won’t go through a needle. So this will take a small attitude adjustment.These threads are sewed upside down. Being dyslexic actually helps here.

 There are three basic brands. Madeira Glamor, YLI Candlelight and Superior Razzle Dazzle are all identical in form and function, but the differing companies offer different colors. They work in an either adjusted or bypassed bobbing case (ask your mechanic and he’ll help set that up. And you sew upside down. Use a matching polyester #40 thread through the needle. The thicker thread will look like it’s been couched on. It’s a very pretty look.

Is that hard? Of course not. Can you look through a slide backward? I use my drawing on stabilizer in the back and fill it in with simple  straight stitch repetitive shapes. Or I’ve drawn on the quilt sandwich from the back and stitched along that.

The damsel fly  here is in a number of lovely thick metallics..

Wrapping it up

Thick metallic threads work beautifully in a bypassed or adjusted bobbin case. Stitching with a straight stitch you can make wonderful filled in images or lacy textures, at your choice.

Continue to prepare for your pop quiz on the 20th! More Thread Magic Summer School to come!

Thread Magic Summer School, Quiz and Contest.

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012


Summer school is a great time to stretch what we know and to add a bit to it. So I’m going to offer you some summer school fun. We’re going to take a couple weeks and review threads. Thick, thin, composition, usage, everything.                                                                                  

I’ll repost some information that has been off the web and write some new. And as always, you need to pay attention. There will be a pop quiz. I’ll post a quiz on the Goodreads Site. The first 3 people who post  the correct answers on my facebook page(you can do this on the quiz site) on July 20th get a signed copy of either choice of Dragonfly Sky, Ladybug’s Garden, Quick and Easy Machine Binding techniques.

Thread Magic Garden

I’ll put up the quiz on Goodreads on July 20th. Be ready. Read up.  Or you can review your copy of Thread Magic and Thread Magic Garden. 

 So Start Reading Up:

Lesson 1: Basic Thread Types 

Thread information is one of the deep dark mysteries of the quilt world. It’s so common we think we should know. Like most things, thread information is more complicated than it looks. And like most things we should know, it’s really unhelpful to should on ourselves.

There are many brands and I have my favorites. I’ll talk about that another time.There are also whole lines of thicker threads, I’ll cover later. But I’d really like to lay the basis of info you need to have about basic thread for machine and free motion embroidery.

Sewing and Embroidery Threads

Sewing threads are three ply threads made for holding pieces of fabric together. They are almost always an unacceptable embroidery thread because they are not made to lie on top of each other.If you sew over them consistently, you can make a surface similar to chain mail. 

Embroidery threads are  usually a two ply thread. They’re finer and they are made to overlap and blend into each other.

Thread Sizes

Threads usually have two numbers on them. One will be a color number. The better quality threads are consistent color-wise and don’t have dye lot issues.So you can buy the same color over and over with confidence.

But the other number is the mystery. We hear about 40 weight thread. What is that?

 Thread sizes are an old measure system. It’s really the thread count per inch. If you laid your threads side by side, how many threads would make an inch?

So a 40 weight thread would be forty threads, side by side. A thirty weight 30 threads. 200 count percale is two hundred threads to the inch.( The same system applies to linens as well). For embroidery purposes, any thread between 12-40 weight can usually work through a top stitching 90 needle( see my early blog on Needle Knows).

These threads can be used either in the bobbin or the needle, zigzag or straight stitch, computerized or free motion. They are the backbone of embroidery.

What’s My Thread Made Of

Threads are made of a number of different fibers.Some are more successful than others. It’s worth knowing how these fibers react when you choose your threads.
Cotton is probably the most basic embroidery thread. It’s strong, comes in many colors and is versatile. It has one flaw that to my mind is unforgivable. It’s not shiny. Magpie that I am, I will confess, I never use it.

Rayon is the most common embroidery thread. It has a lovely sheen and a fine color range. But it’s never strong. Some brands are better than others. I use rayon that’s in my sewing box. But I’ve stopped buying it for myself or for students, unless I simply can’t get the color any other way. It’s never as strong as polyester. In fairness, I do think it blends better than polyester. But the breakage is an annoyance I’m unwilling to offer to students or put up with myself.

Polyester threads are the gold standard of the 40 weight crowd. They’re strong, and the color range is astonishing. They are my go-to, war horse 40 weight thread.

Acrylic threads truly lead me to ask the question, “Why?” These threads are so unstable I don’t even want to see them in someone’s stash. My personal experience with them has been too unpleasant for words. I can’t recommend them. They seem to be set up for computerized embroidery, and perhaps they work better for that.

Garbage in, Garbage out

There are threads I consider a bargain. But when someone tells me about this wonderful thread they found that’s so cheap, I do need to restrain my eye roll.Usually cheap thread is just that. It’s not merely inexpensive. It’s cheap. Save money on something else. You’re time is valuable, and cheap thread usually wastes mountains of time in breakage and bad behavior. Old thread is also a case in point. It will get too old to use, and at that point is no bargain.

Wrapping it up

All that said, the real test of any thread is how it works in your machine. Keep track. You may find that your machine has very different opinions, and in the end, those are the only ones that count for you.

You’ll find my my Goodreads Site here. It has a page of my books and a whole listing of books I’ve either loved reading or shared with people as great source material.

Look for more Thread Magic Summer School coming soon!

Cheesecloth! The Cotton Sheer

Monday, June 18th, 2012

It’s such a good thing people don’t generally look in my washer. They would need medical attention pretty fast, and perhaps that’s just as well. There’s a large quality of the embodied question.”Just what is that?”

This is a cheesecloth lump. As advertised, it’s a lump of cheesecloth, tucked carefully into a nylon stocking so it doesn’t unravel and trap the whole washer in threads. Is this some special fabric we’ve never heard of? No. You probably put it on a turkey breast last Thanksgiving. 

 

 

Even open it’s a bit of a mystery for folk. But you  can see the colors. Cheesecloth is one of the appliquer’s and dyers best kept secret. It’s a cotton sheer that dyes beautifully, can be ironed like cotton ( with a pressing cloth) and is fabulously textured. What it does best is sheer bright color behind stitching.

 

Here it makes the background behind these great mushrooms

 

 

 

 

This great flower is cheesecloth in two shades. All the other coloring is the thread work.

 

These soft leaves are cheesecloth with polyneon thread stitched in different colors on

different sides.

How do you dye cheesecloth? It dyes just like cotton. The trick is not in dyeing it. It’s in washing it out. Like every other bad boy, you can’t let it play with others. Stick it in a nylon stocking, tie it up and your good to go.

I apply cheesecloth with Steam A Seam 2, iron it down thoroughly and stitch it with abandon.

Sheer, bright, lovely,  cotton and  completely addictive, add it to your applique stash.

If you can’t find it, or dye it, I do make it available for folk. Email me and we’ll set up mailing you a box of it. 

Many Moons: A Visit to the Nimble Fingers Quilt Guild

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

I just got done teaching several classes in Maryland. I taught Dragonfly Sky to the Nimble Fingers Quilt Guild in Rockville.

I love teaching the Dragonfly Sky class because it’s full of new good open doors for people. We do bobbin work and we do Angelina Moons.

Angelina has been around for a while now. But it’s still the darling of many of us contemporary girls because it’s definitely Bling Bling! It’s made of hide of the Nauga (Lurex, I believe). It looks like cotton candy but it melts under your iron into the shiniest most wonderful whirl of iridescent ice in around 24 colors. How good is that?  I love it for the natural things that are ultimate shine in themselves. It makes the world’s best moons, suns, dragonfly wings, waters, ice, and stuff of dreams ever.

 

But one of the most wonderful things about a class like this, is watching the very many different things people do with the same patterns and ideas. Look at the amazing moons they made!

Aren’t these women brilliant? It’s always great fun to see them work together and to feel the creative energy they bring into class.

You’ll find the Nimble Fingers Quilt Guild on the web site at http://www.nimblefingers.org/. They’re a great guild and if you’re near them you owe it to yourself to check them out!

You’ll find Angelina Fiber at Textura Trading and hopefully at your local quilt store. Remember that it’s always best to buy things at the store that brings things to you. Your little quilt store is a treasure that supports you and deserves your support.

I put in my Angelina Moon Tutorial on top in case you must go off and make moons immediately. I know the feeling. You’ll find more tutorials on my site.

 

More instructions and patterns for moons are in my booklet for class, Dragonfly Sky.

Now go out and do something SHINY!

Paint Stick Update: New Toys 2

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

painted fabric 1

The last time I talked about paint sticks, I had rubbing plates hanging from the ceiling, paint sticks everywhere, huge piles of fabrics I was waiting to dry and no idea how they would work in quilts.

That’s about par for a new toy. You don’t always know how to use it.

There’s a great book out called “Poke the Box” by Seth Godin. It’s kind of a one note wonder, but the premise is rock solid. It really doesn’t matter what the instructions say. You learn any new tool by taking it out and poking at every button, switch and display it’s got. You learn by poking the box. You watch what it does and when it does something bigtime cool, you see if you can repeat it. 

863 vinery

So I was a bit worried when I took my first couple of oil stick rubbed scraps and used them as surface designed starting spots. They remind me of wall paper. I love them.

From a practical point of view, I stipple less. But they fill the space with glowing light and color and I think I now have all the rubbing plates except the ones for Xmas.

Poke the Box! Take a new toy out. Don’t worry about what will happen. Poke all the buttons and switches and see what you’ll come up with.

You’ll find all kinds of cool information about paint sticks at

Laura Murray Designs

And at

Cedar Canyon Textiles

You’ll find Poke the Box on Amazon  

And you’ll find my very cool new quilts on my web gallery 

Check them out!

Where are the Guerilla Girls When You Need Them?

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

I didn’t start out a feminist. I wasn’t even a tom boy. I read a lot and sewed a lot. Now I write a lot and sew a lot. My life isn’t really much different.

But as a girl I was kept waiting for it to be ok for me to be myself. Being a traditional girl only works if the people around you are willing to be traditionally supportive and kindly. If they make it open season on girls who are socially awkward or not pretty or just a bit over educated, then it really doesn’t pay that little girl much good to cling to traditional roles. I think I had that mostly figured out by the time some guy threw me into the bleachers at a high school dance as a joke. He thought it was funny. Imagine that. I didn’t quite get the joke.

But I have learned that when folk really would like you not to think, have opinions, or God help you, a brain, you’re about to see someone try to throw you to the mat. It doesn’t do any good to say, “I’m just a girl. Why are you doing this to me?” The why’s are impenetrable.  And yet, if you get up and toss them back, you’re a monstrous angry woman. Imagine that.

I like to think that fiber art which is largely women’s art has come into it’s own. Imagine my surprise. The person organizing a show for me advertised my lecture by saying, “And she’ll talk about needlepoint.” When I explained that it wasn’t needlepoint, he said” Needlepoint, fiber art, all the same thing. It’s all thread.” He thought that was funny. Again, I missed the joke.

It doesn’t really matter that I’m an established artist with a 3o year career behind me. It doesn’t matter that work of mine hangs in galleries and museums. It doesn’t matter that over the years I’ve taught thousands of women to follow their own art or that I’ve written over 50 published articles. I could be doing my first book signing, and I would deserve not to have someone diminish my work by saying it’s all the same as all women’s work.  With no disrespect to needlepoint, when men allow that attitude to go passed and unquestioned, do you wonder why women ask what men are for? Once you’ve been consistently dismissed by a group, you lose the ability to care about what they think.

In the 1980’s the Guerilla Girls made a huge statement about how women’s art is viewed. and more important, respected.  What made me a feminist is years of men who have decided to dismiss me and what I do because it’s not useful to them or supportive of their egos. The heart is not a stone. But it can become like one.

The joke here is that as women have money, and jobs, they get to have their own say about what is art. That joke I get.

You’ll find more information on the Guerilla Girls athttp://www.guerrillagirls.com/. They’re doing a current show of their many posters. As far as I can tell, we truly need them still.

The Quilt and Sewing Expo

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

I’ll be at the Quilters Haven/ Handi Quilters booth (Booth 722) in Schamburg, IL on Friday. at the Schamburg Quilting and Sewing Expo. I’ll be playing with the HQ Sweet Sixteen and signing copies of my new book, Thread Magic Garden.

I’ll be working with some special thick threads and showing how you can do bobbin work on long/mid arm machines.  This zentangle inspired flower is part of a sampler series I’ve been working on.

I’ll also have copies of Thread Magic Garden, Thread Magic, and other smaller Thread Magic press books available for sale. Come and play with us. I promise to let you touch the quilts.

The Expo is open from 10:00am – 6:00pm, same hours tomorrow and Saturday: 10:00am – 5:30pm. Schaumburg Convention Center1551 North Thoreau Dr., Schaumburg, IL 60173.

Iridescent who?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

I don’t do white sales.  I don’t do white.  I bring in white fabric, but I promptly dye it. Usually in as bright a pallet as I can. Things don’t stay white around me very long. Even with large bottles of Clorox in the laundry room.

But  I do do moonlight. So many of my quilts are set at night. No. I’m not a vampire.The garlic, thank you, is always my friend. But I do take St. John’s Wort, and I should not be out in bright sunshine. 

So when I might want white I reach for the things that are iridescent. 

What make fabric and thread iridescent? It’s not exactly hide of the nagua, but it really is a relative to Naugahyde.It’ s a fiber called Lurex. Wikepedia defines Lurex as “the registered brand name for a type of yarn with a metallic appearance. The yarn is made from synthetic film, onto which a metallic aluminiumsilver, or gold layer has been vaporised. “Lurex” may also refer to cloth created with the yarn.”

It first showed up in the early seventies as a kind of slicker fabric. Now it’s in all kinds of threads and fibers, perfect for fiber art.

Where can you find it? All over my quilts! I love it.

Iridescent threads:

There are all kinds of lurex threads from many different companies, in many different thicknesses.

Madeira puts out several lines of iridescent threads under their #30 weight Supertwist Line. These are Astros. They have a base color mixed with rainbow blue, yellow, pink and green underneath.

 

These are a Supertwist Opalescent.They have a less obvious but still 

brilliant softer Lurex shine.

 

 

YLI does a # 8 weight metallic thread called Candelight that is a neon bulb on a quilt.

 

 

 

Razzle Dazzle, by Superior is another #8 weight metallic in a whole different line of iridescent colors. They’ve done some magnificent flecked shades.

Sulky Sliver is still the most shiny thread ever. It’s a simple Lurex flat strand.

 

 

 

Angelia and Crystalina Fibers are clouds of Lurex that you can fuse into a sheer surface.

 

 

 

And Smooch Paints are a pigment you spray on.

 

Can you use iridescent in your quilt? It washes, in case you were worrying, but it does tend to be a bit scratchy. My work is made to warm people from the wall rather than in their laps, so I never worry. And I couldn’t be without it.

You’ll find Angelina and Smooch Paints at Embellishment Village.

You’ll find Supertwist at Madiera USA.

You’ll find Candelight at YLI.

You’ll find Sliver at Sulky

You’ll find Razzle Dazzle at Superior Threads.

And you’ll find glowing lovely iridescent light all over your work when you use any of these.

 

 

How Long is your Arm?

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

My studio has a new toy in it!

I’ve worked for years with home machines but this is a brand new day. Why am I working with a mid arm?

Well, it’s not like it’s easier to stuff a big quilt through a little hole, but I’m wildly excited about working with long arms and bobbin work.

Bobbin work? YES,  BOBBIN WORK!

Why? There’s a number of reasons for using a long arm/mid arm machine for bobbin work. The extra big bobbin, the speed and the straight stitch only capabilities are all in your favor.

I’m very excited about the Sweet 16 because of it’s size and its sit down capabilities. I played all yesterday, snow and all at Threadbenders in Michigan City with one and took it home.

Wow said backwards.

The home sewing industry has always made multi-purpose machines. But the sewing industry itself has always considered them silly. For good reason. Most of the time you want the machine that does something excellently. If it does one thing excellently, then that’s better than doing thirty things fairly well.

The mid arm is basically a long arm machine without the large frame. But the thing both of them offer is excellent blazingly fast straight stitching. And room to move. And much bigger needles.  Which is the beginning of all kinds of stitched line art. Can you say, Zen Tangling? Bobbin Work? Lily Guilding? I can’t wait.

Practical Thread Magic: Building Beautiful Color

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Most of the time when we think of mixing colors, we think of two colors becoming one.
Working with thread is so different. The machine work lays one line of thread next to each other. Our eyes mix the colors together, but they stay separate, clean, clear and beautiful.

This tulip has ten colors in it.
Why so many? Because real tulips  have multiple streaks of red, orange and yellow. That large range of colors lets me shade from side to side, giving my flower real depth and detail.
Here are some of the process shots.

One layer of zigzag stitching after another builds us to a flower with dimension and full color range.

Want learn more about building flower colors in thread?

Thread Magic Garden has a whole chapter on color theory for flowers. Why?
Flowers ARE color. It’s what it’s all about.


Thread Magic Garden is available for sale now on Ellen’s web page at www.ellenanneeddy.com

Not Quite Ready for Prime Time Theater

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012
 I was wandering around on the web  today and found this great segment that AQS taped for me at the Des Moines Show this Fall.




This is a very nice tutorial for making flowers out of simple shapes. They taped this the last day of the show. I ran in and babbled like a brook.


But I found it and listened to it today. I didn’t ummm. And it felt as good to listen to it as to do it.


Build some cool flowers. For heaven’s sake leave the patterns out.  Build something wild, while you’re under the gun. It is, after all, time honored.

Thread Magic Garden Is Ready for Pre-order!

Friday, December 30th, 2011
Thread Magic Garden will be arriving for shipment around January 20th. You can pre-order your copy today!
You never really know what a project will take until you see it done. Perhaps that’s good. A good dream well done should take your whole heart’s effort and give you your heart back in return.

When I started this book, I had no idea it would take 2 years to finish. Part of that is that I had to learn so much to do this book.  Part of that is the meticulous process C&T puts into every book.  I got my premier copy a week ago.I’m still scraping myself off the ceiling. It’s past my expectations. I’m hoping you’ll feel that way too.

When I started this book, I wanted to continue what I’d accomplished with Thread Magic. I wanted to show folk ways of adding wild free motion to quilts that set things hearts and imaginations on fire. I wanted to set up instructions that would take you through your own process with this. You’ll have to let me know how I’ve  done when you read the book.
But for those of you who’ve known me in class or in print, you know I don’t give recipes for cakes that don’t rise. I tell you everything I know. I also don’t do anything really hard. I just do things that are time consuming and compulsive.
So here is what we have.
  • Fifty eye popping new quilts in the gallery
  • A patternless approach to design
  • Intuitive applique that makes creating flowers  easy and fun


Tutorials in

  • Color theory for flowers
  • Corded buttonhole  binding
  • Angelina Fiber
  • 6 Free motion zigzag stitches
  • Machine Beading
  • Globbing
  • Sandwich stabilizing

I’m hoping I’ve done a good job of opening doors, traveling a new path, leaving good bread crumbs for anyone who wants to follow, and breaking the best rules I could find to break. See you on the trail.


You can  pre-order your copy of Thread Magic Garden at 
www.ellenanneeddy.com


No More Color Police:Creating Flower Colors

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

 “Roses are red. violets are blue. Angels in heaven know I love you.” Down in the valley

 What color is a flower, actually?










In spite of everything your kindergarten teacher told you, it’s not a simple answer. If she made you color all your roses red, give me her name and I’ll go have a little chat with her. Or better still, you might want to tell her that she can’t live in your head anymore without paying rent.



That’s not a white tulip. Nor is it really red or yellow. It’s a wonderful swirl of a number of great colors. Leaving any of that out is a loss. But how do you do it in fiber?

We have two great tools. Well, we probably have hundreds but these help with this.Hand dyed fabric has all those great streaks. It’s a great way to start a flower.

Machine embroidery also speeds us on our way.The wonderful thing about stitching flowers is that thread really is minutia. We can slip in that dash of green, that edge of orange or purple that flowers either do have or should.
When Mark Lipinski asked me how important color was on his show this week and why I put so much emphasis on it, I almost fell of my chair. Color IS the media. We see everything through the color and the texture. You can here that conversation on Mark’s Creative Mojo  show, December 14th.

Thread Magic Garden has a full chapter on creating colors for flowers. It’s a magical thing. And you can do it too.

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