Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Make Nine 2022 photo recap

My Make Nine 2022 challenge wrapped up the week of Thanksgiving, but I'm doing a photo recap here before the year comes to a close. 

Compared to Make Nine 2021, the project mix was about the same—garments, quilts, pillowcases, a yarn project, pouches, and an upcycling project. Pillows and a few small quilted items for a Trunk Show rounded out the project mix.

Make Nine 2022 photo montage
Completed projects for Make Nine 2022
Top row: Kantha Zipper Pouch UFO, Fast and Fun pillowcases, cuddle quilt UFO.
Middle: New to Me faux color-blocked shirt, Wild Card Trunk Show; Upcycled sock weaving.
Bottom: Slow Stitch dishcloths, Scraps and Crumbs kitty quilts, two Make It Again Bristol Tops.

Make Nine 2022 worksheet

2022 was certainly a fabric-filled year—especially when including a Trunk Show (a business project) that satisfied the Wild Card prompt. The Trunk Show was comprised of 11 small projects that included pillows, bags, pouches, towels, a quilted table topper and a runner. 

Below is my worksheet that corresponds to the Make Nine photos above. Dates of completion are included for each prompt. 

Make Nine 2022 worksheet
Completed Make Nine 2022 worksheet.

Projects were completed nearly every month: January, March, April, May, July, August, and November. I continued knitting Slow Stitch dishcloths well into December.

Project details

These are the Make Nine 2022 prompts and the posts telling the stories and details about the projects.
  • First UFO: I paired an embroidery and kantha stitched piece (the UFO) with improve patchwork to create a zipper pouch. (completed July 4)
  • Fast and Fun: a pair of pillowcases featured the Kingfisher fabric print. This is a favorite of my husband. (completed March 20)
  • Second UFO: the final Make Nine project was a shop sample quilt that was started several years ago. It was finished and donated to my guild's charity. (completed November 20)
  • New in '22: was a faux color blocked shirt using a product called the "flat fat stack" from Paintbrush Studio. (completed July 31)
  • Wild Card: to support an event for several of my shop customers, I created a Trunk Show with several projects using a curated fabric collection from Art Gallery Fabrics. The work and project spanned a few months this spring. (April 17 - May 30)
  • Mend/Upcycle: a favorite childhood toy, the Loopy Loom, checked off the box for a repurposing/upcycling project. I'm taking worn out, unmendable socks and converting them into mug rugs and trivets. A satisfying and sustainable project in so many ways! (completed July 10)
  • Slow Stitch: in July, I discovered the dishcloth knit-along. Knitted/crocheted dishcloths became my default travel project and also fulfilled the Slow Stitch prompt. The first three of 19 dishcloths were finished by August 27 and I continued through November and had a pile of 19 by December 21
  • Scraps and Crumbs: I love making scrappy improve quilts for the kitties! This is an on-going charity project for me that continues throughout the year. Four kitty quilts were completed January 30 and twelve more were finished in December 8.
  • Make it Again: two knit Bristol tops were my first Make Nine finish in 2022. (completed January 15 and January 23)

Looking back at notes in my sketchbook for this year's Make Nine, I earmarked a few project ideas that could satisfy the prompts. A few projects came to fruition, but for some prompts, life stepped in and presented other options. 

For history purposes, here is the Make Nine 2021 recap. This is a recap of Make Nine 2020. The 2019 recap is at the bottom of this post

Planning for 2023

I plan to tackle Make Nine 2023 in the new year. I'll keep some of my favorite Make Nine prompts and add something new. And perhaps, a few projects on the 2022 Wish List will migrate and become next year's successes.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Hand carving holiday stamps with Carve December

After doing 100 Days of Printmaking earlier this year, and participating in Print Ink*tober Challenge, I hopped on board for Carve December Challenge with Julie at Balzer Designs.

Day 25 of Carve December

I followed most of the daily prompts but also felt free to carve what I wanted if the muse took another direction. Here are a few of my more successful prints...

Day 24 of Carve December.

I enjoy doing repreats with hand carved stamps.

Various days from Carve December 2022.

Slow drawing was added to a few of the prints for details that I'm not able to achieve with carving. I like combining the two techniques.

Carve December Day 17 prompt: intricate.

Carve December Day 3 prompt: dotty.

I combined four stamps to create Christmas cards.

Four stamps combined on the front of my Christmas card.

Inside the greeting card.

Just a few more days remain in Carve December. 

Printmaking results and supplies.

And my hand carved stamp collection continues to grow.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Minimize textile waste with upcycled, scrap buster projects

I try my best to minimize fabric, yarn and clothing waste through scrap projects, mending and donating to charities. Looking around the house and my studio lately, I realized the variety of scrap buster projects—for both yarn and fabric scraps—that I worked on in 2022. These are favorites from this past year.

2022 upcycled and scrap buster projects: (from left) knitted dish cloths, fabric twine,
and Zoom Loom sock mug rugs.

Hand knit dishcloths

After discovering the Dishcloth Challenge from Modern Daily Knitting this summer, I got immersed in these scrap-busting, quick knits. Dishcloths are also a great portable project for travel. 

Cotton dishcloths use up multitude of leftover yarn scraps.

Combining small bits of leftover yarns, I enjoy the experimental practice of unplanned color combinations and the surprising results. I have mostly used the linen stitch because it's easy to remember, and the slipped stitches merge the yarn colors within a single row.

Fifteen colorful cotton dishcloths.

Cotton dishcloths qualified for my Slow Stitching Make Nine project in August, but I have continued making them through December. I like that these are colorful and pretty as well as functional.

Dishcloths: Slow Stitch Make Nine Project.

The last one is off the needles with just the crochet edge remaining.

Dishcloth ready for crocheted edge finish.

Fabric twine

In 2021, I started making fabric twine with trimmings and strips from quiltmaking. Any fabric strip that is too thin to use for patchwork—especially if it's a long strip—is set aside for making twine. I've continued making twine this year. It's another good travel project.

Taking fabric twine supplies when traveling.

The Loopy Loom upcycles socks into coasters

A rediscovery of the Loopy Loom/Zoom Loom is converting old socks into woven coasters

Using the Loopy Loom for sock weaving.

I'm still experimenting with these as I've learned that some socks contain elastic and the loops stretch and contract at different rates. So, sometimes the coasters are slightly off-square.

Woven mug rugs from discarded socks.

But this project ticks all the sustainability boxes for me! It takes an un-repairable textile and converts it into a new, useful object. And these little coasters are thick and squishy and so very functional. They fulfilled my Mend/Upcycle prompt for Make Nine 2022.

Collection of woven sock coasters/mug rugs.

Improv patchwork kitty quilts

Of course, a wonderful scrap project is making kitty quilts and charity quilts. In 2022, sixteen kitty quilts were made and gifted to friends, the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga, or are enjoyed by our pack of adopted outside kitties. (Note, our kitties adopted us, not the other way around.)

Improv patchwork quilt top ready for quilting.

The kitty quilts fulfilled the Scraps and Crumbs prompt for Make Nine 2022. Not only are fabric scraps used to make these, but odd strips and pieces of batting are also patched together to make these quilts.

Four improv patchwork kitty quilts.

Twelve scrappy kitty quilts.

Scrap buster 2022 year-end tally

  • 19 cotton dishcloths
  • 8 recycled sock mug rugs made on the Loopy Loom
  • 16 kitty quilts
  • 4 cuddle quilts for the guild's community service project
  • yards and yards of fabric twine

A fulfilling year!

Sunday, December 11, 2022

12 stash-buster kitty quilts: an opportunity for improv piecing, free-motion quilting, and holiday cheer

These 12 kitty quilts are heading out the door. Seven are going to the kitties at the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga. Five are headed to New Jersey to two of my associates who have adopted or rescued kitties.

Twelve completed kitty quilts.

Stash-buster quilts

Over the past few weeks, I've been stealing a few minutes here and there to purge a bottomless scrap pile and spread a little holiday cheer to the owners, helpers, and caregivers of our fuzzy friends. 

Some of the fabrics nearest the top of the scrap pile were flannel holiday prints. These tops were fun to make and got me into a festive spirit.

Two kitty quilts made with flannel holiday fabrics.

The red thread used for the quilting as well as the zigzag stitch on the machine binding added a colorful contrast to the holiday themed fabrics.

Contrasting red thread for quilting and binding.

Improv patchwork

Anything goes when making kitty quilts! This is a quiltmaking project where I not only get to use a variety of fabrics, but I can combine them with leftover patchwork bits and work with improvisational piecing

Sometimes a color palette emerges from the scrap pile, or the fabric prints are from a single fabric collection, but most often it's an "everything but the kitchen sink" conglomeration. This kind of improv patchwork is exciting, spontaneous, and certainly stress-free... which is what I love about these quilts.

Improv piecing with scraps and leftover patchwork.

A free-motion quilting opportunity

I always tell my free-motion quilting students that charity and kid (or kitty) quilts offer a great opportunity to practice their free-motion quilting. 

Scrappy kitty quilts are good stash-busters.

On a few of these quilts, I brushed up on free-form feathers.

Back of a quilt showing free-motion feather motifs.

Feathers are flexible, fast, and forgiving. They travel well, fill the space effortlessly, and are easy to combine with swirls and other quilting motifs.

Free-form feathers on batiks.

Machine binding is the way to go on these quilts. Since discovering the magic sticky tape, stitching the corners by machine is a breeze.

Attaching the quilt bindings by machine.

A warm and happy holiday season

So now that the kitty quilts are finished, the next best part of the process is to give them away! Stan Leigh, one of our outside kitties, wishes all our kitty friends a warm and happy holiday season.

Stan Leigh says Happy Holidays to all the fuzzy ones.
The kitty quilts are on the way.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Precise mitered corners with water soluble sticky tape

There’s a cool sewing notion that’s a grand slam for getting precise mitered corners on quilt bindings: 1/4", double-sided, water soluble, sticky tape. The shop owner at Chattanooga Sewing Machines recently introduced me to this ingenious product from RNK. I tested it on a charity quilt and here are my findings...

Mitered corners on quilt binding made easy with double-sided sticky tape.

Using sticky tape for mitered corners and quilt bindings

On nearly all my charity quilts, I stitch the bindings on by machine. Although this sticky tape could be used for holding the binding in place around the entire quilt, I used it specifically on the corners. I find that stitching down the corners—while keeping the miter in place—is the most challenging part on the machine. 

  • When do you pull out the pins (or remove clips) that hold the binding? 
  • How do you keep the miters in place after the pins are removed but before the needle sews them down? 
  • Do you use a stiletto or seam ripper to hold the miters while feeding the quilt under the presser foot? 
  • How many hands do I need to make this task easy and achievable? Perhaps an octopus could do this easily. 

Here's where the sticky tape comes in...

Double-sided sticky tape from RNK. 1/4" wide and water soluble.

I cut strips of sticky tape approximately two inches long. With the binding already attached to one side of the quilt, I placed one sticky strip on the cut edge of the quilt, starting at the corner. [Note the tape will be between the quilt sandwich and the binding.] 

Bringing the binding around the edge of the quilt sandwich to enclose the unfinished edge, press the binding onto the tape. The tape holds the binding in place. Do the same on the adjacent side to create the miter. The sticky tape holds down the binding on both sides of the corner and keeps the miter in place.

I still used pins to hold the binding down at the sides, between the corners.

Sticky tape holds down the binding and the miter before machine sewing.

Here is a close up of the sticky tape holding the binding in place before stitching. 

Close up of mitered corners before sewing.

Other uses for sticky tape

This tape comes in at least one other width. It could also be used for hand and machine stitching bindings, inserting zippers (garments, pouches, bags), embellishing with trims and ribbons, sewing hems, and with other tasks for which you wish you had another hand or two.

The tape is flexible and lightweight. It was easy to needle, and didn't make the binding or the quilt stiff.

Preparing more bindings.

So get yourself a roll of sticky tape and sail through attaching bindings and nailing those mitered corners!

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Supporting artists supporting the Arts and Community

Thanksgiving. A time for giving—your time, your talent, or from your abundance. 

This is the time of year when I try to make charity quilts with my stash and discontinued fabric swatches. The cute prints go into cuddle quilts for my guild's community service to support Chambliss Center, and the funky bits and scraps go into improv quilts for the kitties at the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga. Last year, I sent a kitty quilt to my new friend, printmaker and artist, Jim Sherraden. He "adopted" a feral cat, Misho, so Misho received a little kitty quilt for the winter months. 

Fabric care package going out.

I recently checked in with Jim and Misho. Through our conversation, Jim told me he volunteers as an art teacher at Friends Life Community. Some of the art projects they work on, he mentioned, include quilts, masks, wall art, and even printing on fabrics. With Jim giving of his time and talent, I'm sending some textile love from my abundance to this organization.

Fabrics for art projects.

I've put together a fabric care package that I hope Jim can use. Under his guidance, I hope the contents will inspire new textile art projects in his community. 

A kitty quilt for Misho.

I'm also tucking a flannel kitty quilt into the box for Misho. This one is flannel on both sides. 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Discovering a UFO en route to looking for something else, and the final Make Nine 2022 finish

Sydney J. Harris, long-time syndicated columnist for the Chicago Daily News and Chicago Sun-Times, occasionally wrote a column called, "Things I learned en route to looking up other things." I was reminded of this recently while looking for a quilt top I took with me to my Intro to Free-motion Quilting class at John C. Campbell Folk School. I used the quilt top to illustrate how I pin-baste quilt tops.

Anyway... while en route to looking for the pin-basted quilt top, I found another UFO quilt that was pieced and quilted about 6 years ago. The top was made to showcase a vintage, sewing-themed fabric line. A long-armer friend quilted it, but I never put on the binding.

Finished quilt with binding. 37.5" x 37.5"

This weekend, I decided to finish both quilts—the quilt top I was searching for, and the 6-year old UFO that lacked a binding. 

UFO that needed a binding (left) and basted quilt top ready for quilting.

Thankfully, a black binding was conducive for both quilts. Convenient!

A black binding was used on both quilts.

Cool quilting motifs

My friend, Sherri, long-arm quilted the UFO with some really cool computerized motifs. Below are photos of the different motifs in each of the corners.

Computerized quilting motif.

Circular computerized quilting motif.

Computerized quilting motif.

Linear computerized quilting motif.

The free-motion quilting on the other quilt is not as elaborate as Sherri's work, but serves the purpose for a kitty quilt that will go to the Chattanooga Cat Clinic. The kitties will love it and the staff will be happy to have a new kitty quilt.

Finished kitty quilt. Finished size 28" x 24".

Back of kitty quilt showing the quilting design.

My 9th Make Nine 2022 finish

I wasn't sure which UFO I would need to complete to fulfil my last Make Nine 2022 prompt. This one is as good as any! And it fulfills the second UFO prompt. This quilt is headed to my quilt guild this week—along with 5 other cuddle quilts—for its community service project.

Pile of 6 cuddle quilts for the guild community service project.

Going down the rabbit hole unearthed two projects that are now complete and heading to new homes.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Linen stitch dishcloths: a color study and portable stash buster

I diligently strive to meet the daily goal of my 2022 Create Daily tracker—doing something creative in stitch or mixed media every day. Portable projects that can accompany me on the road make achieving this goal possible. Over the last 3 months, knitted dishcloths have become my standard take-along stitch project... and they've been an intriguing study in color as well!

Three knitted dishcloths in linen stitch.

Attributes of the linen stitch 

Most of my knitted dishcloths are knit in linen stitch. Below is a photo showing 9 of them. The stitch pattern's attributes are reasons why I like this pattern for this project:

  • the linen stitch pattern is easy to remember;
  • the slip stitch in the sequence makes a tighter fabric structure that is conducive for using this knitted fabric in water... to wash dishes;
  • it adapts well to using multiple colors of yarn;
And for the color study:
  • the slip stitches cause different colors of yarn to interact with each other in a single row.

Linen stitch dishcloths using variou yarn color combinations.

A fun stash buster project

Using up partial skeins and leftover yarns works well for these small pieces. 

Cotton yarn stash.

The smaller yarn lengths allow experimenting with various color combinations on one dishcloth or perhaps on only a few rows. Because the slip stitch brings one color up (from the row below) into another, interesting things happen with color.

Color play with linen stitch.

Depending on the lengths of the yarn leftovers, I'll work with two or three solid colors, two variegated yarns, a solid and a variegated, or use one main yarn and work stripes with limited yards of other colors. It's fun to watch the textures emerge as the yarn slips through your fingers.

The linen stitch also offers interesting color play—and a knubby texture—on the back side of the work.

Linen stitch back side.

Other slip stitch patterns

The knitted dishcloths project was prompted by the Modern Daily Dishcloth Knit-along this summer. Other slip stitch patterns I've used for dishcloths are the brick stitch and Three-and-One Tweed. I've made 12 additional dishcloths since fulfilling the Slow Stitching prompt for Make Nine 2022 in early September.

Brick stitch (left) and Three-and-One Tweed (right) stitch patterns.

My most recent dishcloth used up a leftover ball of the turquoise yarn. Talk about playing "yarn chicken!" The last row was completed with only a few inches of yarn remaining.

Three-in-One Tweed dishcloth: one variegated yarn and one solid.

The edges of the dishcloths are crocheted—usually with two rows of single crochet.

Knitted dishcloths—a portable colorwork project.

As the yarn stash dwindles, the dishcloth stack continues to grow...

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