Tag Archives: embroidery

106: Quilting with Wood

So, only posting one new project a month was supposed to give us more time to get more complex projects done.  I started this project 3 weeks ago, I swear, but didn’t get finished until 15 minutes before post! (…don’t mind the few threads I still have to tuck in).  So, here we have one false start, two new skills acquired, a last minute trip to the store because I ran out of thread, and in the end potentially a totally unique project – quilted wood*.

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The idea for this post was born out of a discussion with Rebecca at Hugs are Fun about making reverse applique with wood.  The concept is interesting – use the laser to cut whatever interesting designs you’d like, and have fabric peek though the negative spaces.  When brainstorming options on how to adhere the fabric to the wood, I thought “Why not quilt it?”  And if I’m quilting it, I might as well go whole hog and bind the edges as well.

Quilt backing and top.
Quilt backing and top.
Top makes a perfect fussy cutter!
Top makes a perfect fussy cutter!

First step was to design my pattern.  I couldn’t get traditional quilt blocks out of my head do I pulled out the Old Maid’s Puzzle Block – I used it back in Week 64 and still had the vector files.  I thickened the lines and merged them so I wouldn’t end up with a heap of triangles when I was done, and ran a line of holes for stitches at the base of each triangle, and the border edge.  For ease, I just did a simple backstitch, but you could really jazz this up with you wanted to figure out hole placement for fancy stitches.

Quilt layers, and the homemade binding
Quilt layers, and the homemade binding

A quilt is made up of layers and this project is no different – I have a thin (1/16′ bamboo) top layer with the reverse applique design, a fabric layer and then a solid, 1/8″ bamboo back layer.  The stitches hold the layers together.  Aligning the holes that are laser cut is a breeze – the top and the bottom are the same pattern that I removed the cut out triangles from.  The is no real possibility of misalignment.

While the holes are perfectly aligned, the Wonder Clips helped rule out user error :)
While the holes are perfectly aligned, the Wonder Clips helped rule out user error 🙂

Have I mentioned I’ve never actually quilted or bound a quilt before?  No?  All I can say is thank goodness for on-line videos. I picked some fabric I had for the middle layer, ran to my local quilt store, Prairie Stitches Quilt Shoppe, to ask for expert advice on binding fabrics (and picked up a package of Wonder Clips!) and picked out complimentary colors from my embroidery floss collection.  Who knew that having a laser cutting blog would build up my sewing stash?!

Front stitching.
Front stitching.
Back stitching. There's not a lot of options to hide messy stitches with the wood, so I had to make it neat!
Back stitching. There’s not a lot of options to hide messy stitches with the wood, so I had to make it neat!

I used the Wonder Clips to hold the layers together and did the internal stitching in pink first.  I made this relatively small, 6×6, so I wouldn’t have to piece together fabrics to make a continuous binding.  I just purchased 1/8th a yard from a bolt and had a ton to spare.  There multiple types of quilting bindings, and they have confusingly similar names.  I chose to make double fold binding tape for the edging because it was simpler – one stitch through and you are done.  Single fold binding requires two passes of stitches and flexibility to fold over corners, neither of which are an option on the wood.

Pink stitching is in place, and I used the clips to keep the binding from flopping around when stitching it up.
Pink stitching is in place, and I used the clips to keep the binding from flopping around when stitching it up.
Pretty proud of this neat little corner!
Pretty proud of this neat little corner!

Making double fold binding tape wasn’t as nerve-wracking as I thought it would be – you simply iron your strip of fabric in half, the long way, and then iron each edge to the middle fold.  I used this video by Toni Barsi for tips on how to apply double fold bias tape and how to get it to go around your corners neatly!

Tidy and neatly bound wooden quilt!
Tidy and neatly bound wooden quilt!
Here's the back the sewing is done, I just have to hide the ends. The ends on the right and top are done, I just rand out of time.
Here’s the back the sewing is done, I just have to hide the ends. The ends on the right and top are done, I just rand out of time.

It turned out to be a very cute project, and I learned to create and then used double fold quilt binding.  I can see how the techniques could be refined to make some interesting and artistic quilts!  Now, to find a use for my little oddball quilt…

*I did a quick Google search and didn’t find any other examples of people quilting wood – “Quilted wood” is amazing wood grain, but not a quilt, and “wood quilt” brings up pictured of wooden pieces arranged like a quilt pattern, but not actually sewn.  I’d be interested if anyone has found a quilted, layered wood project like this.

92: Laser Cut Appliqués

If you are ever wondering where my ideas in fabric and needle crafts come from, I can pretty much guarantee Rebecca at Hugs are Fun had a good hand in it, or at least started me down the path.  This week is no different, and she even took it a step farther by handing me fabric with adhesive iron on backing already attached.  Sometimes, though, my wheels turns slow.  I had her fabric in hand for 10 weeks (thanks, Instagram, for keeping track of that for me) before inspiration struck.

Peeling the protective backing off the HeatnBond
Peeling the protective backing off the HeatnBond

Technical aspects first: We used Heatn’Bond as our iron on applique backing, the Ultrahold kind.  It’s available for about $3 a yard in fabric or craft stores, or on their website.  To prepare the fabric for bonding, you iron on the HeatnBond to the fabric in the size you need.  There are a ton of tutorials out there (like this video from Heatn’Bond’s website) but the gist is to iron the rough side of the Heatn’Bond to the backside or wrong side of your fabric.  Cut out the shape you need, peel away the shiny side of the adhesive, then iron your applique on the larger project.

Getting ready to set it with the iron! Probably the 5th time the thing has been used... (Sorry Mom!)
Getting ready to set it with the iron! Probably the 5th time the thing has been used… (Sorry Mom!)

On the laser, the Heatn’Bond was great!  It stiffened the fabric and made it heavier, which made it much less prone to flying away when the exhaust was on (like in Week 77: Fabric).  We used the same settings that we used for paper – fast with a light touch.  Singe was minimal to non existent, the edges were perfectly cut and the marriage of lasers with iron on adhesive meant the design could be complicated without hand cutting and hand stitching every little bit!

Rebecca requested a unicorn, and I finally settled on drawing up a whale.  This is a family friendly blog, but I have to admit while laying out the designs out for the laser, a little bit of magic happened…

Magic = Narwhals!
Magic = Narwhals!
Unicorns and rainbows are a perfect combo.
Unicorns and rainbows are a perfect combo.

Appliques are traditionally used in sewing projects, which puts me right out – I have no sewing machine.  Rebecca does, though, and whipped up this amazing narwhal purse, and the unicorn pouch!  She is working up her own post about them, so I’ll make sure to link it here when it’s up.

Rebecca sacrificed her favorite mermaid fabric for this project. and it turned out amazingly cute!
Rebecca sacrificed her favorite mermaid fabric for this project, and it turned out amazingly cute!
Hooped up, ready to stitch. Given this was my first real embroidery project, I was reluctant to start and screw it up!
Hooped up, ready to stitch. Given this was my first real embroidery project, I was reluctant to start and screw it up!
Whale body stitching has been done.
Whale body stitching has been done.  The Needleminder is from Week 17 (and is available in my Beadeux Shop!)

I chose to use the whale as a base for an embroidery sampler.  I knew I wanted to do a baleen-type whale with a bit of decorative finery.  After way too much research, I can now tell you the white lines coming down from the mouth are “throat pleats” and that baleen type whales have not one blow hole but TWO. (Check out this baleen two blow hole google image search if you dare.  Gross and fascinating at the same time).  Other interesting factoids I learned – whales can’t breathe through their mouths, only their blow holes and the stuff that comes out of blowholes is called “blow.”  So, uncutely, the spout of blow is not water, but very much the the same as what comes out of your nose – exhaled warm air (which condenses to moisture) and mucus.  This make complete and utter sense, but I never had thought about it before…ew.

As you can imagine, I started my rainbow colored spout of blow with trepidation. I had to put aside those pesky things called "facts" and "accuracy" to get to "cute!"
As you can imagine, I started my rainbow colored blow spout with trepidation. I had to put aside those pesky things called “facts” and “accuracy”  and “gross” to get to “cute!”
Finished piece...now to frame it. Good thing I know a good local frame shop!
Finished piece…now to frame it. Good thing I know a good local frame shop!

For those unfamiliar with the “sampler” concept, I used a variety of different stitches to create this piece.  For those who are familiar and want to know what is represented, here goes:

Body: Stem stitch (mouth), Back stitch (eyes and outer lines on fin), Split Stitch (throat pleats and swirls), Chain Stitch (center of the fin) and French knots (tail)

Blow: Feather Stitch (red), Laced running stitch (yellow and orange), Chain Stitch (green),  Fern stitch (dark blue), Lazy daisy (purple) and French Knot (light blue – I had to put vapor in there somewhere!)

I highly recommend this picture directory of stitches at Sarah’s Hand Embroidery website if you are interested in more stitches.  It’s great for people like me who comprehend better seeing it with thread instead of drawings and have zero idea what these stitches are called!

I'm wrapping this up with a nice close up or the happy whale and his rainbow colored blow :)
I’m wrapping this up with a nice close up of the happy whale and his rainbow colored blow 🙂