Updated: Jul 13, 2018
For readers, blogs are meant to be informative and interesting. For writers, blogs are meant to be honest and open on a subject(s) the writer is passionate about. When I started my blog back in May, I knew exactly what I wanted write my blog about, quilting and a bit of personal stuff but I wasn't sure how I wanted to present my blog to my readers? It only took me one relaxing day sitting on the beach to figure it out... the seed of an idea was born and I really liked it!
The purpose of my blog is to give my readers snippets of useful, inspiring and fun information where they can learn about the type of quilting I do and enjoy some of the joyful things I do when I’m not quilting.
Most of the time my blog will work like this:
I’ll start by picking any word related to quilting. Quilt Word: FABRIC
Then using each letter of that word, I will randomly make a series of words to write my blogs on. Here's an example:
Raw Edge Quilting
First up... F is for Freezer Paper!
Freezer paper is what I use to create mosaic quilt templates with. I use a product called Boardwalk Freezer Paper which I originally found on Amazon. It is a poly-coated food wrap similar to Reynold’s Freezer Paper and it comes on rolls in various widths and lengths. I store my roll on a steel paper dispenser/cutter like this one found here https://amzn.to/2J5uBqt. I use freezer paper a little different than most quilters. I adhere an appropriate sized piece of freezer paper to a cutting mat then using a digital cutter and its software I cut my quilt design out of the freezer paper. Now if you don’t know what is a digital cutter is, or if you’ve never tried using a digital cutter to cut your quilt shapes, then you are in for one of those Whoa! moments. And if you’re a fan of my blog, shortly, I will be releasing a special blog series all about using a digital cutter to create quilts. But for now, back to freezer paper. Once the design has been cut I lift my freezer paper template from the cutting mat. The template looks a lot like Swiss cheese. What’s left behind on my mat are the freezer paper shapes of my actual quilt design and these get discarded. Many quilters are familiar with this next step, using an iron, I temporarily adhere the shiny side of my freezer paper template to my base fabric. The template becomes the guide I use to place each of my cut fabric shapes into. Once all of the fabric shapes have been placed into the template, the template is no longer needed and it is removed from the quilt. This particular freezer paper has proven its quality to me. It’s durable, resists tearing and cuts cleanly using a digital cutter. But one other brilliant benefit I discovered came as I was working with several templates. Freezer paper when its ironed to itself also sticks together so I imagine my excitement when I figured out that I could iron one template to another template bonding them together to create one large template equivalent to the dimensions of my finished quilt. This technique of working with freezer paper templates and a digital cutter is not only ideal for mosaic quilting, its ideal for any quilter to try. Here’s a direct link to the website www.boardwalklabel.com and here’s a link on Amazon for an 18” x 1000ft roll https://amzn.to/2zpjyZQ. Seriously, this roll of freezer paper has lasted me forever, I’ve had my last roll since 2014.
The dictionary describes the word accomplishment as the act of achieving something or completing something successfully. Perhaps it’s a goal that you’ve achieved or a new skill that you’ve gained. Both are considered accomplishments. If your passionate about something and you put the time and work into it, you will at some point experience the reward of an accomplishment. This definition is applicable to many aspects of quilting and life in general but one of the most common times any professional quilter feels a sense of pride or accomplishment often comes when they have finished a quilt. I have experienced accomplishments, this is not bragging it is simply a part of who I am. I dig in and dig deep with just about anything I do. My quilts are no exception, depending on the design and complexity of the quilt it can take months to finish one. But the moment I realize that I am about to quilt on the last fabric piece of a 500 or 5,000 piece design, I am elated and immediately feel that sense of personal reward. I know that I have accomplished my goal, finished my quilt and completed a piece of mosaic fabric art.
A little over 2 years ago, If you asked me or anyone in my family if we would be beekeepers I probably would have responded heck no! Not that I was ignorant or didn’t understand the importance of honey bees, I just REALLY was ignorant and didn’t understand the importance of honey bees! Honey bees are amongst the most important creatures to people on earth. And in recent years with the staggering number of collapsing bee colonies we need beekeepers now more than ever. I’m also pretty sure that I had a few more quick responses like we won’t have the time to care for bees and why would I want to own almost 100,000 buzzing insects that have stingers attached to their bodies when I clearly remember as a child, the pain of getting stung by a bee. But truth is, this new hobby of ours is probably one of the most fascinating, educational and enjoyable experiences our family has embarked on. In future blogs, I will share some photos and educational information about these amazing insects as seen through our family’s eyes as new beekeepers.
RAW EDGE QUILTING
One question I get asked most often is how I quilt my quilts. My quilts are raw edge quilted. The fabric pieces are not turned under and the quilt is not pieced. The two most common concerns with this type of quilting are fraying and losing those small pieces. Many fiber artists who work with small raw edge fabric pieces will use tulle or netting as an overlay on the quilt top which is then quilted to keep those little pieces from falling off. My technique approaches raw edge quilting in this way. First the fabric is starched, then the fabric is backed using a heat activated pressure sensitive fusible called Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 and finally the pieces are cut with the single sharp blade of a digital cutter. Because the fabric is stiffer, almost like a sheet of paper, the cutter cuts the fabric pieces cleanly with virtually no frayed edges. Once all of the fabric pieces have been permanently adhered to the base fabric, I free motion quilt, micro stipple on each fabric piece using a small needle size and a combination of these two fine weight threads, Monopoly and MicroQuilter from the Superior Threads. As I am quilting, I carefully sew close to the edges securing each of the pieces in place. It does take some time but I am a quilter I truly enjoy the time that I spend quilting my quilts.
There are many incredibly talented artists out there but I have share with you one of my favorites, Sue Bleiweiss. If you know me then you than you may know my friend, Sue Bleiweiss. She is a remarkably talented award winning quilt artist, professional art coach, teacher, author, pretty amazing bird photographer and experienced baker
too! Her whimsical fiber art quilts have been making people feel happy for years. And her new black and white quilt series, like this quilt pictured here, called "in the garden" takes her unique whimsy style in fresh new direction. In Sue's new blog posts you can read a wealth of information as she gives readers a more in depth view of her work both failures and successes, challenges artists face, routine studio practices, inspiration, design, publishing, submitting to quilt shows, photography, teaching, time management, supplies and resources and book reviews. Sue’s talents run deep and the resources she provides are vast so you might want to spend a little time on her blog here https://suebleiweiss.blog/ or visit her website https://suebleiweiss.com or visit her in person here http://www.suebleiweiss.com/classes.html. Then perhaps you’ll start to gain an appreciation of what I mean when I say incredible artist.
How is it that I drop everything that I am doing when my kids are outside on a warm summer night and I suddenly hear their screams, FIREFLIES! It’s true, I do drop everything that I am doing. It’s one of those happy few moments I treasure every summer with my two daughters. Growing up, I was always mesmerized by the little flashing lights of these bugs. So when my kids were toddlers and I knew it was one of those perfect summer nights, I would put them in their pajamas and tuck them into bed but as soon as it was dark enough... I’d wake their sleepy little bodies up, pop them into their cars seats and drive down the road to these magical fields I affectionately dubbed as “firefly fields”. As we arrived at the fields, I would turn the engine and lights off and put the windows down. Quietly, at first, we would sit and watch what seemed like a million little flashing lights flicker and dance across the fields. My kids would oooo and ahhh, point their chubby little fingers and excitedly shout, Look! there's one Mom! Sometimes we’d catch a few in a jar, throwing in some grass clippings and then I would put the jars on their nightstands. They would fall asleep watching these mystical little lightening bugs and then come morning we’d let them go. My kids are teenagers now and just when I think that they are too busy to remember such a little thing as catching fireflies, I hear their screams once again, Mom! Come see! FIREFLIES!