Tag Archives: sewing

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*.

insertnamehere (28 of 30)

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.

101: Pincushion Rings

Time to make presents!  Having become acquainted with some many sewers of the past couple years, pincushion rings were on my radar – question was, how to make them with lasers?

Pincushion rings and bracelets are very useful for quilters and people the use a lot of pins because it holds pins close – no need to find a pincushion nearby. I decided to attach the pincushion to a laser cut frame, much like my pendant frames.  I put together a couple designs and made a deep frame front, and solid thin back.

Laser cut frames
Laser cut frames

My biggest mistake in making these was sizing them for rings, not sizing them for usefulness.  The smallest ring, a 1 inch circle with a little over a half inch center, was pretty impossible to make a cushion.  The bigger circle is 1.5 inches, and I think it could go up to 2 inches.

Tight fit with fabric.
Very tight fit with just  a tiny bit of  fabric.

I originally wanted to use the cut out circle in the frame to attach the pincushion to, with the intent that it would sit snuggly back in the frame.  I learned two things attempting this – 1) hot glue doesn’t work on wood and 2) the laser cutting kerf isn’t big enough to tuck fabric all the way around – it barely squeaked in to get the corner in for the picture.  To make it work, I would have had to make the gap wider.

Pincushions (6 of 16)
For the second attempt I took a clue from this Instructables tutorial – sew a little pouch with a circle of fabric and filled it with cushion materials.  I used a mix of walnut shells and cotton batting.  A running stitch around the edges allowed me to cinch it up.

Pincushions (7 of 16)

E6000 is a crafters friend.
E6000 is a crafters friend.

I used E6000 to glue the frame to the cushion, and then to attached to the solid back.  Because I was gluing at the 11th hour, I didn’t actually finish the rings.  I wanted to let the E6000 cure fully before attaching the prefabricated ring back.

Cute little ring size!

Cute little ring size!

Pincushions (11 of 16)

96: Deer Ears

I’m not generally a costume person, but after getting (good-natured) grief at the Halloween parties last year, I knew I had to step up my game.  Of course, I also wanted to kill two birds with one stone and make it a blog project as well!

I had to use Ryan's favorite photo, right?
I had to use Ryan’s favorite photo, right? 

To still be “me” and keep my costs down, I decided a deer costume was the ticket.  I thrifted a brown skirt to pair with my white button up and brown sweater, and the makeup was from the college theater class.  To complete the look, I designed a pair of deer ears.

We cut the plush fuzzy side down.
We cut the plush fuzzy side down.

We cut felt really early in the blog run, way back during Week 4, Rock Band Drum Covers.  We learned the hard way the smell of laser cut wool was pervasive, so I used synthetic felt to construct the ears. Jo-Ann’s has a plush felt that was perfect, and at less than $6 a yard.  We needed less than 1/8 of a yard for the project.

Paper attempts - I decided to ditch the bottom fold on the bottom ear for simplicity.
Paper attempts – I decided to ditch the bottom fold on the bottom ear for simplicity.

I knew I wanted something more realistic looking than “Cut a petal shape and pinch at base.”  I consulted Google for deer ear shape images and I did a practice run in paper.  I’ve never really drafted a pattern before, so the paper was to test where folds would go and what the fabric to look like before folding and gathering to give it the appropriate shape.

Full ear shape
Full ear shape
All the little parts, before I cleaned up the fuzzy extra bits of felt.
All the little parts, loose on the right and in place on the left, before I cleaned up the fuzzy extra bits of felt.

Deer ears are brown with white inside, and than get brown again near the inside base.  To really get full use of the laser, I did decorative swirls on the inside of the ears.  We found that while the laser cut the material nicely, the inner swirls were too tight of a cut and got a little melty and stuck to the “plush” part of the felt.  Not a big deal, but they had to be trimmed out later by hand.

First fold
To get the ear shape, my first fold was straight down.  You can see where it’s going, but the curve at the base isn’t right.  On the final run, the inner swirls would already in in place in the ear.
Second fold, which I think technically makes a dart. This care the ear a more natural curve and created fullness
Second fold, which I think technically makes a dart. This gave the ear a more natural curve and created fullness.
I basically whip stitched the folded end, making sure all three layers got sewn together. The top of the swirl isn't sewn down, though I did end up tacking it with superglue.
I basically whip stitched the base, making sure all three layers got sewn together. The top end of the swirl isn’t sewn down, though, because I didn’t want brown thread to be shown on the front, or white thread on the back.  I ended up tacking it with superglue.
I had the perfect shade of embroidery floss to attachh the ear to the clear com. I tried to cover as much of the comb as possible, just in case my hair didn't cover it. I chose the comb over a headband because I could blend it into my hair better.
I had the perfect shade of embroidery floss to attach the ear to the clear comb. I tried to cover as much of the comb as possible, just in case my hair didn’t give full coverage. I chose the comb over a headband because I could blend it into my hair better.
Detail of how they are attached to the comb
Detail of how they are attached to the comb
Completed ears!
Completed ears!
Closeup of the hair - I did end up taking out the top bobby pin when I was sure it was all set.
Closeup of the hair – My hair is fine, so I didn’t have enough to volume to cover my ears and keep the combs in place and covered.  I compromised with a low drape under the fake ear that I held up with a barrette – partially covering the ear and holding up the felt ear in case gravity became too much!  I did end up taking out the top bobby pin when I was sure it was all set.
Eyes shut version so you can see the makeup.
Eyes shut version so you can see the makeup.

The makeup was a lot of fun to do.  I used the brown and white pots of my Ben Nye creme make up kit, and everything else is black eyeliner and mascara.  There are a ton of you tube videos for the deer look (It’s really quite in right now) but they were a little too over the top for me and involved too many fake eyelashes.  I took my inspiration from this image (unfortunately I can’t track down the original source), but I pulled back on the fawn spots, added a black lip and white to the nose which is seen on some deer – like this great photo of a mule deer by Anthony Dunn.

The costume was a hit, and just my speed.  The makeup and hair, shockingly, lasted all night, and I’ll have the ears for years to come!

Save the best for last - I had to make a tail too!
Saved the best for last – I made a matching tail too 🙂

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 🙂