Saturday, 27 April 2013

Flowers of the Night

Our final workshop in Houston was "Flowers of the Night" - a thread painting workshop with Nancy Prince. This was another great class. Firstly because Nancy is an excellent teacher and secondly because the class room assistant went out of her way to be helpful. All classes at Houston have a representative from the sponsoring sewing machine manufacturer, Elna in this case,  to help out with setup of the machines. The lady from Elna was like a ninja - as soon as you reached a point in the class where the foot on your machine needed changing, she magically appeared and sorted you out. 

The class project was  the  the central panel  on my finished piece. It used a variety of threads -  #30 silk for the stems and leaves, #40 rayon for the details on the flower and #100 silk for the central shading on the flower. There is a variation of this class on the The Quilt Show website, which covers the single flower design.  I had enjoyed the class so much, that I carried on to do the 2 side panels to get more practise at the technique.


I stipple quilted the panels using #100 black silk because I wanted the quilting to blend into the background. This proved to quite a challenge but I came to conclusion that if I couldn't see the stitches while I was quilting it, then anyone looking at the quilt was unlikely to spot any mistakes I made!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Painting with Needles

Our third workshop at Houston was Painting with Needles - Possibilities of Free Motion Quilting with Noriko Endo. The workshop was not quite what I expecting. I didn't think the painting was actually painting on the quilt. Don't get me wrong -  this is something I had been thinking of trying. I did have a go at painting but the classroom environment was a little cramped and I wasn't altogether satisified with the results.

Also the class was more of a design class than I expected. Design is not my strength so this was a little outside my comfort zone. We were asked to pick a motif and scale it up and down. I chose a cherry blossom, mainly because my mind went blank and Steph had a template we could use. I decided to take the opoprtunity to practise different stipple designs in as many colours as I could think of. When I finished the piece off at home, I again used the satin cord binding technique we had learned in the Stupendous Stitching class.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Feathered Dreams


 For our second workshop at Houston we decided to do something completely different. Neither of us had done longarm quilting before but fancied having a go. We booked ourselves onto the Feathered Dreams half day workshop with Linda Taylor. One of the things I enjoy about the workshops at Houston is getting a chance to work on different sewing machines - using a longarm quilting machine took that to another level. The class was really well organised. A template for the design was already done for each student - this was the bright green stitching. The longarms had stitch regulators so we didn't need to worry about getting the speed right - we just needed to steer. We had spent the first hour of the class practising drawing feathers of different types. It was up to us which feathers we did. I finished the background quilting on my domestic machine at  home and bound it with an orange satin cord. It's not square and the the feathers are not as smooth as I'd like but it was a great way to start. In fact I would be quite happy to repeat the workshop in the future.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Stupendous Stitching



Since the New Year, I have been finishing off workshop projects from my trip to Houston. On our first day Steph and I had booked ourselves onto Carol Ann Waugh's Stupendous Stitching class. We were wary of doing a class the day after a long haul flight but knew this class would be experimental and fun. The class followed a process of combining machine embroidery with hand embroidery. I find myself torn between the fun of machine embroidery and the meditative nature of hand embroidery, so this was something that satisfied both sides. The piece is finished by stitching rattail cord round the outside. It's a quick way to finish a piece and has a more contemporary effect than a standard binding. There is a video shoing how to do a Rattail Binding here. This class is available is available on Craftsy and I can recommend it to anyone who is interested