Thursday, May 26, 2011

To Eat It or Not

Normally celery finds it way to our dinner table, but when I noticed an idea on Quilting Arts I couldn't resist bringing the celery into my studio. Even though I'm always up for a snack, this wasn't the plan.

The plan was to cut the bottom of the celery off and use it as a stamp. With a little paint on the end, my celery became roses. This was so much fun, I tried it on several pieces of fabric. I especially liked it on this piece of pink striped fabric.

I finished one piece up, adding machine quilting to bring out details and make it look even more rose-like. 

Red Roses - Quilt Tile
8" x 8"
Sharon V. Rotz

Although I can't resist the beautiful commercially printed fabric available to us as quilters, it is exciting to create your very own designs.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Held Together with a Washer or Two

24" x 40"
Sharon V. Rotz

Today, I am again looking at the details that add to life and energy to a project. In "Dappled", I strayed away from one large piece of fabric and divided the composition into small parts. These small parts were then stitched together to form the completed piece.

I thought of connecting the sections with beads, a more common choice, but felt that I wanted to go with something more substantial. Off to the hardware store I went and came home with metal washers. I used these washers stitched on with black perle cotton thread to join sections of my quilt.

Other quilt sections were joined with narrow strips of leather that I sewed to the fabric and then tied. 

I think the unusual elements add interest to my project so I am happy with the result. I like the open areas that allow the light (or wall surface) to come through.

Have you tried any unusual elements in your projects? Were you happy with the effect?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More Quilt Details

Roadside Cattails 
60" x 36"
Sharon V. Rotz

The quilting does give wonderful effects to our projects as I have mentioned in a previous post. But in some projects we are drawn in for a a closer look by the details of the fabrics we have chosen. The overall composition of Roadside Cattails is quite simple, one horizontal line cut by three vertical lines.

What adds complexity and interest to this simple design is the use of multiple fabrics. The horizontal line is a made up of numerous browns with different patterns and colors. The background also brings together shades and tones, patterns and textures to stimulate our imagination.

Likewise, the vertical strips are not a solid fabric but string pieced sections of browns and more browns.

Adding complexity and interest can be done is a variety of ways. How have you added the "pull-me-in-factor" to your quilts?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More Thread Storage Ideas

 After I blogged about thread, Sonia sent me her storage solutions. She has certainly conquered the problem in her studio and I wanted to share her ideas with you.

"My favorite way to store and select thread is to lay them (color in view) in a shallow drawer or covered plastic tray.  However, I now, too, have a variety of types of thread although I do not have an embroidery module for any of my machines.  (I make up for that with decoratiave stitching.)  I have two "racks" that I lightly varnished before I sorted my thread spools (by color) on them, one rack for cotton specialties (varigated, quilting), and the other for what used to be "cotton covered polyester" or ordinary sewing thread.  Then I have trays or shallow drawers for other varieties of thread for variety of uses, each type with its own tray or drawer.  I keep my serging thread in a small plastic dresser with shallow drawers with the serger tools in their own drawer. 
What trips my crazies, is when there are loose threads dangling and getting tangled, especially from bobbins.  Then its nuts to try to find the bobbin that "matches" a specific spool. To solve these problems, I ordered white plastic bobbin holders that would fit on a spool of like color, and wrap the bobbin with either a mini pony-tail thing-a-ma-bob (beauty department) or a half round pink plastic bobbin "wrap" that keeps the thread from wandering."

Sonia K.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Whether the details are made up of piecing, applique, or quilted lines, they will draw the viewer in for that all important second look. In this case, I have chosen curvy lines that fill in an invisible circle. The fabric used in this piece is Robert Kaufman Radiance silk/cotton blend. The sheen of the fabric is enlivened by the rise and fall of the fabric due to the quilting stitches.

The completed piece is a another of my art quilts that combine abstract and realistic elements from nature. The simple design leaves room to add depth through the quilting. "Standing on the North Shore" is currently on exhibit at the Wisconsin Visual Artists' Guild Cattails and Flowers show at the Reaching New Heights Gallery, Marshfield Clinic-Weston Center.

Standing on the North Shore
25" x 25"
Sharon V. Rotz

Thursday, May 12, 2011

New Look

I've found its almost as fun as quilting. Its playing with colors and design (and a lot faster than sewing stitches). What, you ask? Playing around with the look of my blog.

My apologies to those who may have been trying to look at posts when I was playing (and every few minutes things kept changing).

I ended up with some new art included in the heading.... a detail of one of my recent works. Often, when we look at a total composition we miss little details so it is interesting to highlight only a small portion.

Today, spend a few moments looking closely at the details in your world. Will they be the inspiration for your next quilt?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thread, Thread, and More Thread

We can't stitch our quilts without thread. It comes in a multitude of colors and weights. We can't do it all with one type or one spool. We have all-purpose thread and a spectacular collection of sparkly, shiny, silky, light weight, and heavier weight offerings all designed to inspire our creativity. 

The problem that comes with this stockpile of shades and types of thread is storage, of course. How do we keep it all handy and manageable without overloading our sewing surface?

I have a small dresser that helps keep my thread collection under control. I have divided my cotton and all-purpose thread by color in the top drawers, followed by serger thread and fun decorative threads in the bottom. This seems to work out well for me. (Yes, and some day I may even remove it all temporarily to paint the outside of the dresser.)

I have only one problem. That is that my thread accumulation has exceeded the space. Notice the spools on the floor. So, in addition to my dresser, I have several shoe (boot) boxes for thread that I use mainly for quilting my projects. It seems these boxes were made just the perfect height for a cone of thread to stand up in them. (Obviously, they had quilters in mind when they were designing the boxes, don't you think?)

What clever ways have you found to keep your thread under control and close at hand?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tip for today

What's your favorite handy tool?

Today, I'd like to share a simple and quick little project for your sewing studio.  

As I was completing a quilted project using a wool batt, I trimmed the edge and was ready to throw away a narrow strip of wool batting. Thinking of the properties of wool and how it keep needles and pins from rusting, I rolled the batting strip into a ball and secured with a pin. (Notice the yellow pin head on the side.)

Just like that, I had a small pincushion to keep next to my machine for extra needles and a few pins. Keeping the strip narrow helps so you don't push the needles in too far to rescue and they become dangerous weapons ready to stick you at a later date.
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