Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rope Baskets are addictive - a little tutorial for you

I have made a couple baskets over the last week. I saw people making these rope bowls on Instagram and figured I wanted to get onboard with this skill as well. My LQS has offered classes in the past So I knew they had the rope available for purchase. I bought 4 bundles and quickly zig zagged right through it. Do you ever need a project that just puts you in a creative zone where your spirit is soothed and your mind calmed? These baskets are that project for me.

When I was in college I took a pottery class. I find making these bowls is very similar to throwing pots on the wheel, but much lass messy and (for me) a much bigger success.

I really loved leaving some of the natural rope uncovered and then wrapping parts with fabric. I feel it gives each piece a bit more artistic quality.

Hello favorite fabrics just peeking out of the basket.

These were so fun, and such an instant gratification project I kept making them. I even moved one of my sewing machines upstairs so I could make the baskets while the kids were doing homework. It is nice to sew with my kids instead of always being down in my quilt lair sewing like a cursed princess in a fairy tale (I actually really love my job and don't mind sewing my days away at all, but it does get a bit lonely from time to time).

If you want to make some too let me share what worked for me.

You will need

  • A sewing machine in good working order that has a strong zig zag stitch
  • lots and lots of thread
  • wind up a bunch of bobbins
  • slice up your favorite fabric. I found 1" to 1.25" strips worked the best for me.
  • And this Dritz clothesline rope. This is pretty cheap stuff, but my sewing machine handled it just fine.
  • I used a little scrap of leather to finish my baskets. I think it looks pretty.

Many of the conversation threads on instagram were talking about all the needles they broke sewing through their rope, but I didn't break one needle. No problems at all.

Begin by making a coil. Do a tight spiral for a round basket, you can make an oval too. Your choice.

And start zig zagging. I didn't start right at the center, I went ahead a bit and came back to the center later when there was more for my feed dogs to grab onto. This machine is my fancy pants Bernina. She is kinda a brat when it comes to doing new things and needs to go into the shop for a good cleaning and servicing, but I don't want to  be without her for 2 weeks.  That is why some of her zig zag stitches don't look awesome. When I came upstairs to sew I switched to my older Bernina and she made lovely stitches with no drama whatsoever.

So, go around and around and around until you make the size bottom you want. I guess this bottom was about 7 inches. Now tilt the bottom up at and angle to start making the sides.

If you want to wrap your rope with fabric you can do this at any time. For this bowl I started after I had a couple of the side rows stitched. I didn't use anything fancy, I just wrapped my fabric strip around the rope. Don't worry about it being perfect, any mistakes will be hidden in the zig zag stitching.

Add more fabric by overlapping the ends and keep wrapping and zig zagging.

Round and around you go. This bowl is a flared out bowl, but for a more tall sided bowl (or basket) you put your hand under the side you are stitching and that reduces the angle. It makes the sides more straight. It was a little more tricky on the Bernina 820 because her bead is so big. It was easier on my little Bernina.

So, this is an important tip. If your sewing machine foot has mark to indicate the center keep that centered between the coils and the zig zag stitch is more likely to catch both pieces and make a stronger join.

Here I am sewing away when my friends came over and wanted to see how to make bowls. I didn't know Beth was taking my picture, but it was a fun quick demo.

And here is the first rope thing I made, a rag rug! Isn't it great! It is almost all Cotton+Steel fabric. I do love Cotton+Steel. I have a shop full in you need some. You can also get to my shop through my side bar widget. OK, go forth and get rope and sew up some baskets! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I will answer them ASAP.

Ok, I have quilting to do. I have been quilting some great quilts. Lots I can't show right now, maybe in a couple months.


Monday, August 10, 2015

crop I love you.

Hey there folks,

I get asked frequently what my favorite e2e (edge to edge pattern) is for quilts. Hands down, for the moment, my favorite design in Overlapping crop circles. I love it. Great texture, pretty design.

This is a quilt I made for someone special. It is hard to let go of, but I think it will be loved where it is going.

I used Crop Circles on Nicole's quilt as well. I did an E2E in the center and quilted fancy borders for her. This way you definitely get a custom quilted touch, but at a more affordable price. Sometimes all Custom Quilted pieces can cost quite a bit.

I know the feathers are hard to see in the outside border, but I took these pictures in my studio, in the evening when the light is not so fantastic.

Have the best day ever!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Quilting quilting quilting!

Hello there folks! 
Can you believe that school is about to start up here again in Kansas? It is wild! This has been the most wet summer since we have moved here and it barely seems like we have been to the pool. At least that means I have been getting heaps of quilting and teaching done. This has been one busy summer. Let me show you a handful of the quilts I have been quilting recently. Each deserves its own post, but judging from how much time I have had to blog I just need to show them now.

This is a t-shirt e2e I did for a friend up the street. It is quilted with a pretty neat design that is customizable to just about any school initials and mascot.

In this case it is LHS and the Pioneers. I quilted it with a rainbow variegated thread.

I kinda love this quilt. It is a scrabble quilt! So cool, right? Maria made this one and I quilted it with Overlapping crop circles. One of my very favorite e2e designs.

The quilting was well spaced to overlap the raw edge appliqued letters and give them a bit of reinforcement.

This was a fun summer row quilt by my friend Taylor. I custom quilted it.

There are tiny mermaids swimming in the water beneath the sailboats.

The turtles are quilted with curved cross hatching.

The fish have scales.

And the waves have movement with cloudy sky.

I quilted Kelly's quilt e2e in the body of the quilt and custom borders.

I am wild for the border on this quilt. I have wanted to quilt a piano key/feather border for some time and this felt like the right quilt to do it on. The ribbon candy in the black sashing and the feather/piano key are both free hand.

Narrow lines are always cool.

The e2e design I used in the body of the quilt is a new one for me and I love it. It is named Peacock feathers.

I used 2 layers of batting on this quilt as well and that really makes the quilting pop.

Last up today is a Christmas quilt I did for Ruthi. It is all custom.

I had fun decorating the trees and the background is quilted with red loops.

The border is quilted with holly leaves.

OK, I need to jump back into work.

Happy quilting folks!


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Some Quilts I quilted recently

Hey there folks!
I just got home from doing a trunk show in Rogers, Arkansas. It was so fun and it was such an honor to be asked to show off my quilts to the Modern Quilt Guild of North West Arkansas. Wow. Thank you ladies for having me down. Your town is lovely and your guild is filled with so much talent. You also have one of the coolest quilt shops I have ever been in. The Rabbits Lair was awesome. Wow. I have a bag full of hand dyed wool singing a siren song to me begging me to come do some applique. But I must resist! Until next week.

Tomorrow I get to Teach Quilt as you go on the long arm at KC Quilt Festival. I am beyond thrilled. I hope it is as fun for everyone else as it has been for me. Fingers crossed! I will pack the van after this blog post.

So, let me take a moment while I have a glass of wine to show you some of the quilts I have quilted lately. I hate glowing them all in one blog post. but looking at my blogging trends this is as good as it is going to get until next week or so...but I have fun plans for blogging then and I don't want to NOT show these quilts due to oversight. So lets take a look...

This is a fun quilt I quilted with a simple cross hatch. I kinda love it. Super simple and so fast!

This is a fun quilt (a man quilt) that I quilted with Bauhous in the body of the quilt and guitars around the border.

The man the quilt was made for is a musician. I love those guitars. If you look close I did a thick double stitching in gold to try to look like blue jeans stitching. I know in the 7 zillion stitches my Bernina has that I have a good thick back stitch, but I couldn't find it. Or maybe it was on a different machine?

This was a fun one I did for Taylor. So much texture! Lots of ruler work, but some Statler work too.

These modern pearls are my favorite.

The dense baptist fans are a close second.

This is another quilt I did for Taylor. She found a stack of antique signature blocks and finished them all into a quilt.

I swear if I ever get to have a farm with a massive flock of fat hens they are all going to get their names from this quilt.

Taylor gave me a little diagram of what she wanted the blocks to look like so I made it so.

I did a wide vine around the border. It loosely is related to the narrow vine in the sashing.

Next up is colored candies. This was an enormous quilt. Cheryl is such a good piecer. Talk about straight seams! I love it!

She wanted dense wavy lines and swirls in the colored blocks.

Lots of thread here!

Last up is this quilt for one of my favorite clients (all my clients are awesome, but one reason Beth is special is because she plots revenge with me to get my flock of fat hens back). I think this is the first quilt I have custom quilted for her. Which is odd because most of the quilting I do is custom quilting...I had a blast quilting this one.

Swirls and stars. Gosh I love that combination.

It is hard to see, but the centers of each star are different.

And it got a little star spangled border. I love how this quilt turned out.

OK, I am off to cut 20 quilt backs and the batting to match. If you are coming to class tomorrow come early to help pin them up to the frames and I will give you a treat!