Friday, June 2, 2017

Rooster Pincushion and Curved Piecing

This is my newest pincushion. Once again, I wanted to tackle a technique I was afraid to try. Its the dreaded curved block. Guess what, it isn't so bad. It is a bit fussy and it took some practice, but I really love it. My inspiration to give this block a try was a chicken quilt block, well, many chickens. They are adorable and I wanted to design something Fiberluscious. Here is a bright rosey version.

Okay, I make tiny blocks. pincushions are normally 5-6 inches square or round, so to get 4 blocks in a design, the blocks need to be small. I totally recommend starting bigger. Most of you are probably quilters so you have that luxury. I kind of like the challenge.

I also recommend downloading or purchasing a template.I just couldn't find one for this small of a block. I'm sure if you do a search you will find a great one. To make mine, I started by drawing a square the a bit larger than my finished block. I'd love to walk you through this but I think you would enjoy this block so much more if you started with a template and watched a video. Thank goodness for the internet and all the wonderful quilters out there who are both capable and generous with their knowledge.

Well, lets instead talk about the design process. I think we all see ideas on the Internet and think how can I make this my own. That is what we creative souls do. The hard part is figuring out what that is. I was going for whimsy. So I added a big old beak and a gathered comb to the back of my rooster's head.

The hardest part was figuring out how to fit them into an already bulky seam. My tip is to just give it a try. I just added a 1/4" seam to my shapes. I cut out 2 layer, sewed the shape, trimmed the seams. I turned them right side out and pinned them to the seams at the front and back of the head. I don't think this design would be the same without the way they stand out from the rest of the block. Too fun!

I finished the block by adding some nice big back stitches in #8 Perle Cotton. I tend to fall to my embroidery techniques when I quilt. I find it easier to get regular stitches. I have no idea how hand quilters get such beautiful stitches. I think it is so lovely and I hope that the tradition never ends.

Well, until you take on your next challenge, you will never know if you can do it. So just dive right in! It feels so great to do something you didn't think you could. Its the little victories in life that bring satisfaction.

Well, I better get to my shop orders.
You can find these pincushions in my Etsy shop Fiberluscious. They are still there today but I'm not sure how long they will last. If they are gone, give me a shout out on my Etsy shop and I will set up a listing for you. The blue version is here and the pink rose version is here.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

New Apple Pincushions!

I just had to bring my apple pincushion back. I loved my old apples so much but the embroidery was just too hard on my hands. Working perle cotton on woven cotton on a 3-dimensional shape were the triple wammy. So I just put the pattern aside. I don't know why... they are just as sweet with fun fabrics. I hope you agree.

This one uses some of my favorite soft rose prints. I called this one Golden Delicious. Yummy!

I used my Kathy Davis "Scatter Joy" fabric for this apple. The print has so many fun elements I didn't need more than one piece. You can find butterflies and big bold blossoms. I embroidered the feather stitch while watching "Alice in Wonderland" so this one is my Lady Alice Apple.

As shown on the top of this post, I used some fun, bold rose prints in pink and white to create my Pink Lady Apple. I just love all puffy and fun these pincushions are. They all are weighted with emery so they won't tip over as easily. The main apple is stuffed with polyester fiberfill.

I wanted to share some other new pincushions in my Etsy Shop.
Here is my round patchwork pincushion in a variety of modern prints.

I also found a lovely vintage set of napkins with pretty applique. There was an opening in the applique for silverware. I think it would be great for your seam ripper. So if you find a funky vintage item, keep your mind open and use that element!

Well, I am off to the sewing machine to try some new patterns. Have fun and happy sewing!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Wool Love- A quick share

Hello All!

Its so hard to keep up with my blog and I wish I had a clone to do it for me. Since that is one thing I just can't figure out how to make, I will try to add a few quick posts here and there. I am in a lovely creative pool right now, just swimming around. I've had some creative time on my hands and that is such a wonderful gift! Soon the garden will be calling so I am just loving this time.

You all know that I have a love affair with wool. I have tons of roving in so many brilliant and complex textures. It is fun to felt, it feels so good in my hands and it gives me the feeling of painting. Something many fibers just can't do.

My latest creation is above. I think this is a one of a kind because it is filled with little experiments. It is made from layers and layers of hand dyed wool. This makes it an ideal pincushion. Wool has natural oils which will lubricate and polish your pins and needles. However, stitching through all of those layers is a bit hard on the hands. I have a few new callouses and indentations on my fingertips to prove it. Pulling perle cotton through wool is easy with a few layers, but many..well, next time I think I will alter the design to make it arthritis friendly. In fact, I have another on the way with those elements in mind.

If you have never worked with wool, I so recommend it. Try to purchase a nice little scrap pack and give it a try. Quilting Acres on Etsy. I get a lot of my wool from there and it is top notch for felting projects.

Here is a picture that shows some of the many layers of wool, especially in the sun and sky. That lovely blue came from another shop-Ruby Mountain DyeWorks.
You can purchase this pincushion here. But once it is gone, it is gone. I'll try to recreate it but not in this method.

My last quick share is a new version of a pincushion favorite in my Etsy Shop, Fiberluscious. I used lots of rich earth colors in my Wool Leaf Pincushion. You can purchase it here. I even have one ready to ship!

If you have some roving and wool fabric on hand, I recommend using a very thick wool to section off some of your shapes. It gives a nice break and allows for even more embroidery. I have a nice selection of fluffy wool and mixed fiber yarns in my shop called the Thick and Chunky Colorway. You will find lots of fun yarns in a number of bright colorways in my shop. They are only $15 each and you will get a lot of yarn to play with for your smaller projects. Ask me to create your own colorway. I'd be happy to put one together in all one fiber, one type, or one color.

Well, I have to go. I'm on grandma duty today. My little ones are my favorite creative endeavor. Oh the fun we have. They bring me joy which enables me to share my joy with you!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

New Fabrics- New Blocks- New Fun!

I have been so darn busy since the holidays. It seems so many have saved up some fun projects for me to create. Now that I am caught up a bit, I wanted to share some of my new fabrics and the fun pincushions they inspired!

This is a new pincushion in my shop. I made it with a line of fabrics by Kathy Davis called. "Scatter Joy". The name is perfect for these prints. Just when I think I have them all, a new bunch comes in. Here is a bunch straight from the fabric store!

Here is another in that same fabric line. I simply used some free motion stitching to outline the print. I added a layer of cotton blend batting so the surface has a soft touch. I like quilted pincushion tops. The pins and needles stay up so nicely and are less likely to migrate to the center of the cushion.

Sometimes i just enjoy trying a new quilt block pattern. I was watching Fons and Porter's "Love of Quilting". Dodi Poulson was on. She designed a block called the Shattered Dresden. It was so pretty. It contains short and long dresden fans all in one block. The quilt she brought had another dresden which was more suitable for making a pincushion. She simply created a larger center circle. The fans were fatter. I used 12 in my block. I drafted the pattern using a protractor to create 12 equal sections. I then cut out one of the sections and added a 1/4 inch seam to both sides and the top. The smallest part of the fan is under the center circle so you can just lop off what you don't need. Here are a few versions of this pincushion.

I think my favorite is the modern rose print in yellow, pink and blue. Those are Mary Rose prints by Quilt Gate. I hand appliqued all of the petals and centers. I find applique so satisfying. I do use the fusible interfacing trick to make the round center. I just find it to be so fast and easy. The softer rose prints are more monochromatic so I found that some embroidery around the edges brought out the block pattern better. The first one I made was the bright modern print version with the yellow dotted center and the navy background, (its another "Scatter Joy" print!). They all came together quickly and it is always so nice to try something new.

I had a few fun requests. One is from a dietician who wanted to know if I could make some brooches for her to use on her job. She asked if I could make her some veggies! Well, you know me. I can't resist a challenge. I can't believe that I forgot to take pictures of them before they shipped. Luckily, I did have pictures of a corn cob brooch I make about 3 years ago.
I had a lot of fun designing it and I sure didn't mind a creative rerun.I also redesigned one of my wool pea pods. If I get another done, I promise to take pictures next time!

I really love working with my customers. The bring me so many wonderful ideas. Everything we design together becomes on of my new favorites. I have been working with a lovely woman in Japan for the past few months and she keeps me busy. I enjoy our conversations more than I can say. I am certain there is an automatic translator involved because things always some out in an interesting way. We both laugh! These are the things that bring me happiness and satisfaction in my work. Here is a pretty rose pincushion she requested.

My last thing I'd like to share is another non-traditional creation from this year. I used to make crowns and tiaras. I really loved the designing process. No two are ever alike. This one is for a lovely young mom who ordered one for each of her children. This tiara is for the newest one who I hope will come into this world knowing how much she is loved.

I hope to translate this design into a pincushion soon. The linen background and hand painted silk velvet play so beautifully together. I love the way the dye works on silk velvet. Its like a watercolor painting. Free motion stitching gives it even more of a painterly look.

Well, that's all I can squeeze in tonight. There are more orders to fill and I'm nearly done with a few. I hope you come and visit my Etsy shop soon. I have so many things ready to ship. I am also ready to work with new ideas!

Happy sewing!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Welcome Sew Mama Sew Visitors!

You can find my tutorial here.
I'll try to get an instruction sheet download ready for you this week, but if you follow the instructions on the tutorial, you will find that so much of it is tailored to your vintage doily, so try to roll with it. There are so many lovely little crochet goodies just waiting to be repurposed!

In honor of all of the quilters who follow Sew Mama Sew's lovely tutorials, I was inspired to do some patchwork last week. Once I got started, I just couldn't stop!
I hope you take a trip over to my Etsy shop, Fiberluscious and pick one up for the quilter on your Christmas list.

I just love the Wonky Star block. I finally got the hang of making square squares. I'm not an official quilter but I try soooo very hard to get all my little seams matching and my quilting stitches straight. The wonky star speaks to me because it is just a bit off- just like me.

This one is made from some bright pink prints from Lecien called "Flower Sugar". I adore them!
Since I've moved away from my favorite quilt shop, I've been shopping on-line. I have been ordering from Unique Fabric Palette on Ebay. Vicky is lovely to work with and I like the selection and the prices in her shop. Her service is fast and she is great at answering your questions quickly. I do miss the whole touchy feely way of shopping but this works too.

The dynamic prints in this pincushion really speak to me. Its from a beautiful line of prints called, "Scatter Joy". That's just how they make me feel when I'm designing.

I also love to make simple blocks with brilliant fabrics. This round pincushion has just 2 prints from different lines. As much as I searched and searched to find a friend for the purple print, it came as quite a surprise to just use a different color in a similar deconstructed-like print in navy. This pincushion is quite firm and the size is just right. I think an intricate block would be lost with these prints.

I want to share one more pincushion with you. Its a brilliant version of one of my most popular designs. I use a flip and sew method to piece the top. I love this print series including bright colors and fun geometric shapes.

Once you order one of my pincushions you will know that they are really functional and fun. I add a core of emery to every pincushion. It gives it a nice weight, so your pincushion sits nice and firmly on your work surface. Emery will lightly sharpen the tips of your pins and needles, so they last a bit longer and work a bit better with each use. I also pre-wash all of my fabrics. I find it softens them which allows for your pins to glide in easily. I have a beautiful patchwork pincushion but that darn thing is nearly impossible to poke! I want my sewing tools to inspire and serve you in your sewing studio.

All of my pincushions come with a complimentary gift box until Christmas. When you order, just ask and I'll send it along with your order. I just love giving presents.

Oh.. I nearly forgot to show you a little stocking stuffer to give to someone. My "Stick with Me" beaded pins come in an assortment of 10.
You can purchase all flowers, all millifiori, or a full assortment of pins. They come boxed with a pretty bow for $15.

So stop on by my shop and do a little holiday shopping. Use this coupon code, FiberJoy10 and get 10% off all of your orders until January 1st. Watch my shop for more specials from now until Christmas.

I would also encourage you to make your own gifts. I think we sometimes feel a store bought or web bought gift is somehow better than what we can make on our own. I think the love we embed into our own works elevates the joy we bring into the lives of those we love and those who love us. So go ahead and get crafty! Embrace the handmade movement and say good by to perfection and hello to the pride that comes with making it your self.

Sew Mama Sew has so many amazing tutorials so you can make something special this year.
Find my tutorial for a Frilly Doily Pincushion on Sew Mama Sew. Lisa Hawkes was very kind to include my project on a great list of lacey, romantic, holiday gifts for you to make this year.

Happy Creating!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Kim won my Wool Flower Giveaway!

The winner of my Wool Flower Giveaway is Kim Leavens!

Kim is an avid quilter. Her blog is Quilty Stitches. She calls them warm cuddly hugs and I so agree. She comes from Wisconsin, my home state as well! We normally need lots of warm quilts here, but yesterday is was 65 degrees! Once we chat I hope to add some of her photos to this post.

Kim quilts and I really admire her applique, something I love as well. she likes to knit, crochet and sew. Since she seems to be very versatile, I hope wool felting also becomes one of her favorite new crafts. Stop on by her blog and get to know her and her beautiful quilt projects.

Thank you to all who entered. I will be doing another giveaway before Christmas, so please stop in again soon.

My feature with Sew Mama Sew Homemade Holidays begins on Sunday. My tutorial will be among many tutorials featured on this great resource site. Not only are they running a daily gift tutorial, they list over 700 tutorials on their site every day!!! So if you love to create loving, original gifts for those on your list, you are certain to find a project with instructions to make Christmas easy this year.

Have fun and keep on creating!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Easy and Fun Wool Flower Tutorial and Wool Giveaway!

I have such a fun tutorial for you to try. As you can see, these fun flowers can be used to top your next pincushion, pinned on your favorite jacket as a brooch or used to adorn your own creation.

I swear, once you get all of your materials together, it will take you 15 minutes of play time to create your own flower. Don't stop at one- make bunches! I think you will find the process addicting!

You say that you don't have the materials? I will be giving away enough wool to make many adorable flowers to the lucky winner! I will also provide the names of my favorite shops so the rest of you can find these luscious wools, great felting materials and inspiration galore!
(Kits include felted wool fabric, beautiful wool batt samples along with instructions. Felting tool and mat are not included.)
To win just comment below. I will chose the winner on November 18th!
Don't forget to leave contact information so I can find out where to send your kit!

Here is what you will receive!

I included a wonderful variety of wool roving, wool batts, textured batts with firestar and silk, and 4 pieces of lovely woven wool for your flower base in cream, fuschia, bubble gum pink and red wine.

You can find downloadable instructions here.

Lets begin!

You will need these tools-
Sharp Scissors
A Wool Felting Tool with multiple needles to speed things up. You may also use a felting needle but it may take much longer to fully felt your wool fabric.
A Wool Felting Mat
Felting Tool and Felting Mat can be found at New England Felting Supply on Etsy

You'll also need these materials-
Felted wool fabric
Wool batts or wool roving
Mild soap found at New England Felting Supply
Optional Materials-
Perle cotton or Embroidery thread
Pin Back
Wool Yarn
Felt Ball

Begin by making your pattern for your circle shape. You will need 2. One should be larger than the other. The patterns shown are 2 1/2 inches and 3 inches. You don't need to be exact. Any size will do!

To make it easy, I used the cardboard spool ribbons come on. They make finding the center easy! A jar lid, compass or any small circle form will do.

Cut your wool fabric to the size of your pattern. You don't need to trace the lines. They are just there to give you an idea of where to cut your petals later. Cut 2 circles or more if you like. Each one should be progressively larger. Do not cut the petals just yet. That comes after the felting.

Add 2-3 layers of wool batt and wool roving.

If you are not sure what the difference is between wool roving and a wool batt, look at the picture below.

Wool roving has longer, smoother fibers. They often come in braids when hand painted. They are beautiful! I like Merino but check with your supplier to see what they recommend.
I ordered the roving shown from Edgewood Garden Studio on Etsy. I also order solid colors from Purple Moose Felting also on Etsy. Caryn is a sweetie! I've ordered felting needles from her as well. Most wool shops carry both the needles and the mats.
Wool batts are kinky and sometimes chunky. They felt up quickly and are fun to use. They are easy to pull apart and work into your wool projects easily. You will find little nubs and bits of other colors which makes your project fun and easy.

I recently purchased my batts from Grey Fox Felting. Erin was great to work with! She has many colors to choose from. You will find some of the flowers use this amazing purple! I used this color for the tutorial. Water Lily Pink

She has lovely ornaments and wool felted creations

Okay, Back to the Tutorial-

Felt the layers down thoroughly. Each time you add more wool you must felt it completely to the wool fabric base. Take your time here.
Be careful! Those felting needles are sharp! Ask me how I know- Ouch!
The following photos show the progression.

Once the top is fully felted, turn the circle over. Fold the excess wool over the edge and felt. The next photo shows how fluffy the bottom of the circle will be. That just won't do. Felt the bottom until it lays flat. Then turn the circle back to the front and give it one more round of felting.
Repeat this process for both layers.
This is the hardest part. Not too difficult is it?

Option One
You can make your wool flower a bit more wild by adding wool yarn to the process. I just cut lengths of yarn the width of the flower. From the back, felt the yarn onto the top layer. The felting tool is all you need. I don't have this step pictured, but you can see the affect on the largest flower which sits on top of the pincushion.

Now its time to cut the petals. I usually make one cut then make another cut on the opposite side. Note that I am not cutting all the way to the center. Follow the lines on the pattern above. You can cut your petals as wide or as thin as you like. Try not to be perfect here. This should look like nature had a hand in it's creation. Try not to cut them too thin where they near the center. If you have to make a cut or two more shallow than the rest, its not a big deal. Repeat this for the second layer.

Once you get both layers of wool felted and cut, you can felt them together. Just put the smaller circle on top. Then use your felting tool to join them. You shouldn't have to add more roving but you can if you like.

Option Two

I added one more step to the large flower on top of the pincushion. I added a felt ball to the center! Well, half of a ball. Just cut a felt ball in half so you have 2 pieces. I wrapped the ball in some wool batt and felted it down.
Then I placed the ball half on center of the top flower layer. From the back of the wool fabric, use your felting tool to bind them firmly together. Add the larger circle to the small from the back by felting. To give it even more realism, I felted the petals up along the base of the felt ball near the base. This draws the petals around the center which looks much like the zinnias in my garden.

This next step just brings the petals to life. You can skip it if you like, but I totally recommend that you wet felt your flowers to make them more durable and more beautiful!
Add a bit of mild soap to a dish with water. Soak the flowers well until they are completely wet. Then massage the petals until the wool begins to felt further. Start off gently. Once you get your petals nice and soapy you can get a little more rough with your flower. I roll it around in my hands a bit so the petals begin to felt together at the base a bit more. Notice how the petals have changed. The tips are a bit rounded and not so fluffy.

Rinse the soap out completely. To even further the felting process, alternate between the hottest water you can handle. Then make the water very cold and rinse again. Go back and forth between hot and color water a number of times till all of the soap is rinsed out.

There are 3 ways to felt wool.
1. Needle Felting
2. Hot water- ever wash your favorite wool sweater in the washer? - its like that. If you change the temperature of the water it speeds up the process.
3. Soap to break down the wools natural fibers and friction to to bind the fibers together.

After your flower is rinsed, squeeze it between layers of dry toweling until it is simply damp.
You can allow your flower to dry naturally or if you are impatient like I am, just toss it into the dryer. This will bring back some of the fluff. Don't add anything else to the dryer. Allow it to bounce around gently.

Once you are finished with your flower, you can embellish it as you like, or leave it just as is.
I added some pretty glass beads to the red flower.
I added a fun vintage button to my pink flower.
I embroidered a few french knots and running stitches to the small purple flower using perle cotton.
I added the largest flower to a wool pincushion.

The possibilities are up to you!

Here are a few more of my creations using wool fabric, wool roving and batts and wool yarn. You can find them and more at my Etsy Shop, Fiberluscious!

To enter to win a free flower kit, leave a comment along with contact information below.
The winner will be notified on November 18th.

Here is a list of my favorite Etsy shops. I hope you visit them and see the beautiful materials they have to offer. I recommend them highly for their fast and friendly service.

Lovely Hand Dyed Wool Fabrics-
Quilting Acres Beautiful Hand-dyed wool fabrics!
Ruby Mountain Dye Works on Etsy (this is a new shop for me. She is dyeing my wool as we speak.)

Wool Batts, Wool Roving and Wool Felting Tools.
Grey Fox Felting Stunning Batts
Purple Moose Felting So many colors of roving!
Edgewood Garden Studio
Woolie Bullie A crazy selection of intense dyed wool.
Wildethyme Beautiful Batts with sparkles, silk and other exotic materials and inclusions!

Wool Balls and Wool Felt
Crafty Wool Felt This shop is just too fun!

Wool felting tools
New England Felting Supply Everything you need is here from needles, soap, carding tools and so much more!

WildeThyme is running a sale right now. I have this batt called Radioactive. So lovely and the sparkles and inclusions make for fun felting!
Make sure to drop on by!

Watch for my Frilly Pincushion Tutorial link on Sew Mama Sew coming this month. I am so honored to be featured on this amazing site!

You may purchase the pincushion shown above at my Etsy Shop, Fiberluscious. I'll have it listed soon.

Thanks for stopping by!
Good luck on my giveaway!