Tag Archives: fabric bowls

The Less Glamorous Side of Quilting

After the thrill of designing a new piece is gone you’re left with the more mundane tasks of quilting and edge finishing. I know some people stitch together two or three chunks of fabric and then revel in quilting them, but that’s not me. I enjoy the texture quilting adds to a piece, but usually I don’t go out of my way to do difficult quilting. Two recent finishes are perfect examples of my lax attitude.

For “Cobalt” I quilting curved vertical lines and then accentuated some of them with a Posca marker. Probably I could have couched yarn for a similar effect, but the marker was much easier.
For “Corrugated” I used the serpentine stitch on my portable Pfaff to echo the wiggly lines in the fabric. I learned the Integrated Dual Feed doesn’t do as good a job as the walking foot on my Janome, but that machine is in the shop. Despite lots of ironing and pinning, the foot kept pushing the fabric forward. I need to block this one to eliminate the wonkiness.
“Corrugated” detail

For both quilts I sewed on narrow single fold bindings for a pop of color at the edges, although mostly I face my edges. Again, I find facings easier than bindings.

To continue with my corner cutting theme, I also took short cuts with the two latest fabric bowls I made. Instead of satin stitching over the seams or disguising the seams, I used fabric strips over the seams as decorative elements. I fused on more decorative bits and edges, and called them done.

The inner and outer fabrics are reversed, so the Paula Nadelstern fabric inside the bowl on the left is outside the bowl on the right.

At the rate I’m going, in 2 or 3 years I will simply glue everything together, and know it will last my lifetime.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.

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Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects

Using My Diva Fabrics

Over the years I’ve built up a small stash of fabrics I call divas. Some fabrics are eager to be accommodating and show up in many of my quilts. They can seem cool or warm, light or dark, depending on their companions. Not divas. Their colors just don’t blend in, they demand your attention, and they certainly clash with each other. I have only myself to blame as I bought or created them.

However, I finally realized the divas can work with small, crafty projects like bowls when I came across Linda Johansen’s book.

I downloaded the free bowl project available at C&T Publishing, and requested the book from my library. I decided to start with the free project as the directions seemed less complex than the boxes or vases and I already had all the supplies needed.

I selected my diva fabrics and got to work cutting out circles of fabric, canvas, and WonderUnder.

Thickened dye printed fabrics made at a Sue Benner workshop.

I also had to make center circle sandwiches of the same types of materials. You are to put one circle each on the inside and outside of your bowl once you have adhered the fabric/canvas bowl disks to each other. I did this step wrong as I fused my inner circle parts together too soon. You’re supposed to adhere their layers on the bowl disks themselves. Oh well, I made it work.

A little finessing and the inner circles came out fine.

The next step was to cut curved darts to make the bowl concave.

The directions call for start and stop points to be marked with pins. I couldn’t force my pins through the thick sandwich so I used a Crayola washable marker to draw my cutting lines. (Thank you Vicki Welsh for that tip.) The key is to test your marker’s washability on a scrap of your good fabric.

The darts are formed by overlapping the cut lines and zigzagging along the top cut. Then, if that looks okay, you satin stitch over every cut line. It’s a lot of satin stitching.

The little clips came in handy at this step.

Finally, I trimmed the edge and satin stitched all around that.

Bowl inside.
Bowl outside.

I covered over gaps in the black stitching with my trusty black marker.

I was so happy to have put these fabrics to use and to have tried another way to make bowls. As I’ve written before, to date I’ve used Hilde Morin’s bowl creation method. Linda’s way results in a heavy bowl with a firm center. It involves much more stitching. I suppose you could add arty fabric bits like Hilde’s method suggests, but it is designed for single pieces of fabric.

For future bowls I may try a mashup of both methods, using Hilde’s for the construction and Linda’s for trimming out the darts. I have my diva fabrics picked out already.

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Filed under Completed Projects, Project Ideas

A Bit of This, A Bit of That

In between lengthier projects I often do mini pieces that may not always involve quilting. Sometimes they are inspired by something I saw or read; sometimes by gifts or supplies from my stash that I have rediscovered. Most recently I used a sunny painted ocean scene given to me by Ann Scott to make a more disturbing landscape than the original. I call it “A Cell With A View.”

I cut up the original and combined it with a printed photograph. Then I quilted it to resemble chain link fencing covered with the stems of weeds. The edges are finished with paint and yarn.

A more abstract yet functional project was two fabric bowls made from scraps and canvas I had painted. I was tired of seeing the canvas hanging in my fabric closet. Hilde Morin’s instructions call for covering the canvas with fabric, but I streamlined the process by decorating the canvas directly.

Inside of bowls
Outside of bowls. The fabric strips are to cover the zigzagged seam lines.

Some of my incidental projects are made from paper as well as fabric.

After I rolled off excess paint from printing onto grocery bags I cut up the bags and sewed them to wallpaper samples. The samples are vinyl, and so far have proved impervious to permanent impressions by any paint or marker I own.
More monoprinted papers from Penny got sewn onto a canvas strip that used to be a blank fabric book.

Finally, a photo I took at a local lake was edited in Photoshop, and printed on fabric. I glued it with matte medium to a stretched canvas. The technique is from Lynda Heines.

I painted the canvas edges black before gluing on the photo. The green is my cutting mat.

There are still more little projects on the go in my studio, though a few may be returned to the “someday” drawer. I won’t even begin to talk about the week I spent sewing little scraps into larger scraps by color, though I am using a few in current work.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.

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Filed under In Process

Weird Fabric Finds A Home

Several years ago I snapped up a yard of odd mottled rose/gray fabric because it was just $5. Ever since it’s been hanging with my yardage, being passed over each time I look for a new quilt palette.

Finally I had two project palettes that actually worked with my long overlooked fabric – a bowl and a small quilt.

My second fabric bowl has subdued colors and I couldn’t find anything to cover the rim until I remembered that fabric. It slipped in nicely with hand dyed fabric from Vicki Welsh, hand painted pole wrapped shibori, and batik scraps.

My small quilt, named “Concrete” because of its inspiration, used some of that fabric as well, mostly in the column near the right side.

The inspiration? This magazine photo of Boston’s City Hall. The building is considered an outstanding example of Brutalist architecture, which features lots of poured concrete.

My piece doesn’t capture the depth of the photo and the receding diagonal lines, which are probably what attracted me in the first place, but I can always make another version. Maybe I’ll use less pink next time.

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Filed under Art quilts, Commentary, In Process

Charming

For the past several years I’ve joined other quilters on a yearly retreat in Ohio’s Amish country. I just got back from this year’s, and am happy to report progress on a few projects.

I began another fabric bowl, this time in purple/brown/pink shades. I want to try quilting it from edge to edge rather than in a circle. I’ll finish the outer edge after the quilting is done.

Then, I made every mistake in the book with a bias tape project. I had planned to make an orange peel type design with bias strips, but I forgot I needed to draw my sewing guide lines (in red pen) in the opposite direction for half the blocks. So, my peels only went in diagonals. I decided to add three additional rows of bias strips to half the blocks to create petals.

The photo shows the effect I’m going for. The background fabric is an ice dyed rayon tablecloth that’s backed with fused on interfacing. I will be using narrow black sashing to sew down the blocks as the corners would be too bulky if I sewed the blocks directly to each other – another operator error.

Of course, I had other projects – embroidery (gasp) and a needle felting experiment. Both got started, but it’s early days to know how they will turn out.

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Now In 3D

Ever since I bookmarked Hilde Morin’s instructions I’ve had an itch to try making a fabric bowl. On Monday I decided to scratch my itch.

Using cotton duck canvas (bought at 60% off from Joann’s) I made my circles. Next, I sorted my fused fabrics. After I found I needed larger pieces than I already had, I searched my stash for batiks to use. Batiks are recommended because they don’t fray much when fused. It seems I either used up or purged most of my batiks, so my choices were limited to a few pieces I had held onto because I liked them too much to use. No time like the present, I decided.

After I fused a batik to the outside, I laid down the beginning of the front side, and cut eight slender wedges that make the bowl curve.
Then I zigzagged the wedge sides together, starting at the center. I concealed the seams with fused fabric pieces before I ironed on more decoration. I did the same on the outside.

At this point the fun part began. I was pleased that my pack rat habit of saving fused scraps paid off as I cut thin, slightly curved strips to lay around the bowl’s interior. I switched to my travel iron to make it easier to press around the curves.

After I fused down fabric around the edge (I recommend bias here) I quilted the bowl twice in two different colors of turquoise.

Hilde Moran does beautifully intricate quilting on her bowls, but for my inaugural bowl I decided to keep it basic. I found it easier to start the quilting on the outside and work my way in, but either way involves a bit of scrunching to fit the bowl through the machine’s harp.

This bowl was a refreshing break from my current slog through my quilting backlog. I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

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Filed under Completed Projects, Project Ideas