Posts Tagged ‘learning’

I’ve been asked to teach a class on hand embroidery.  Although I started embroidery at my grandmother’s knee at about age 8, I am no expert. So, I must learn. Thank goodness for Pinterest.

First I needed to straighten out my own collection of embroidery floss. I didn’t take a “before” picture, but, just think: “spaghetti.” I have a collection of 6 strand “regular” embroidery floss and #5 Pearl cotton (the non-divisible kind). I recently added a #8 Pearl Cotton to my collection, which is finer, and useful sometimes.

With the 6 strand floss, it’s OK to keep it wound in the two paper bands it comes in, as long as you carefully find the correct end to pull out. If you have the wrong end, it will tangle right away. So – let that go, and find the other end.  If you do have the right end, a length will pull out easily.

With the #5 Pearl, I can find no other solution that re-winding it right away onto cardboard bobbins. (unless it is the kind that comes in sort of a ball.  You can leave it wound on that ball.)

You can buy the bobbins (they’re cheap), or you can make your own out of pressed cardboard (the kind cereal boxes are made of.)

cards

The cardboard bobbins are also useful to organize and keep neat your 2-strands or 3-strands of the 6 strand floss that you have separated, but not used yet.

OK, so now my thread is organized.

box-1 box-2

I’ve been using embroidery as a surface decoration in my art quilts for some time.

steel-valley-16-5x13-small

But here is a piece I’m working on now that is all about embroidery.

hummingbirds

I also will make a sampler piece with about 6 basic stitches.  And borrow heavily from Pinterest to give my students ideas: feminist or subversive sayings, “Zenbroidery” using a pen and ink abstract drawing as basis, botanicals – there are a lot of ways to go with this.

I’ll post more in the future as this develops.

Any ideas you may have are welcome!

This is the total of what I got done in January: 27 art quilts in 30 days, participating in the 30 Paintings in 30 Days, international art challenge.

Each piece is not linked to its “day.” <sorry!> Day #1 is top left, and it continues left to right along the top row. All the way down to the bottom right. The Tree Map piece is pictured as it is now, incomplete, with 6 pieces.  It will have a total of nine. You can go to my blog to view each piece, and read about its inspiration.

I was going to leave out the demonstration sample from my art quilt class, but then stuck it in anyway so the number would equal 27. It is tagging along at the bottom right.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in this, especially my fellow Art Plus Gallery members, Karen Weber and Gloria Urban, and Sue Goodling.

I hope everyone has a great year making art!

30 days total

I sat myself down yesterday and watched Thread Therapy with Dr. Bob.  Subtitled “Eliminate your Frustrations with Thread, Needles, Tension,” it went a long way to do just that during its less than two hour running time.

I have long appreciated Superior Threads and their accurate but humorous advice. I’ve poked around their website, read their blogs, and received their emails. But I learned so much more from this little video.

Here is one teaser from just the first few minutes.

I, like many other quilters, have been seduced by the sparkly metallic threads on a narrow cone at the fabric store.  But then when sewing with them, they break.

Bob demonstrated a simple test for metallic thread.

Pull a foot or two off the spool.  If the thread is curly and twisted as it hangs, it will twist along the thread path and break when it goes through the tension disks.

If it hangs straight, it will sew without twisting.

Some of the problem lies in the manufacturing — the way the metallic foil is wrapped around the center thread. Some of the problem lies with the diameter of the core. Some are just a half inch or so, the thread takes on “memory” of that tight wind.

Superior’s metallic threads are wound on a larger diameter spool, and don’t twist.

I feel like I’ve learned a lot over the years about thread, tension and needles.  But so many of the gaps in my knowledge were filled in by sitting down and watching this video.

The DVD is still available and free of charge.  Here is the link:
http://www.superiorthreads.com/shop/product/DVD-Thread-Seminar/

There is much to be gained from this wonderful company. In the future I’ll let you know what you CAN do with those pesky metallic threads in your stash.