Posts Tagged ‘quilt’

Featured Project – The Darkheart Duckie Project

I had been gleefully watching this project as each duckie was slowly uploaded to our flickr group, and I was just waiting to pounce on our talented stitcher Chris so I could get her to share her amazing finished quilt with us once it was ready.

Well, the deadline for the quilt was fast approaching, and Chris got it done! We now have 6 delightfully hand-stitched duckies from our Daring Duckies collection made into one geektastic quilt. This amazing creation goes to one lucky little tyke, which is a fantastic and nerdy way to welcome a kid into the world. Chris joins us today to talk about all the work that went into this quilt and where it all began…

What started this project?

A friend becoming pregnant. I had already told her that when she did get pregnant, her sproglet would have one very cool baby quilt.

Did the embroidery inspire the quilt or was the quilt the catalyst for starting the embroidery?

The first! I was very taken by many of the Urban Thread designs, and a quilt is a good way to get multiple designs into one piece.


This looks like an impressive undertaking! How long did it take to embroider it all?

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 something hours. Around 80 hours per duckie, not counting the pantographs and bias tape borders. I took plenty of time with it, as I started in April and didn’t finish up until the end of September. Putting the quilt together went quite quickly in comparison. It probably wouldn’t be done yet if I hadn’t been up against the definite deadline of pregnancy.

Talk us through the embroidery… What make you pick the ducks? Which of the duckie designs did you decide to use?

Initially, I had planned to do a skully quilt, however, I took another look before picking out skullies and saw Zombie Duckie, which sealed the decision to go with duckies. My friend is all about zombies, she loves them and I had already made her a zombie pillow. So, duckies it was going to be.

The Duckies I chose: Punk Duckie, Zombie Duckie, Robot Duckie, Vampire Duckie, Nerd Duckie, Pirate Duckie, Devil Duckie and Ninja Duckie.

Punk Duckie provided a nice opportunity to deal with the knotty pink/blue problem by combining them both in one Duckie.

Zombie Duckie was sheer fun to do and I added some touches which tied it into the pillow I had made for my friend. We both share a love of Futurama, so I downloaded the official Alienese font and used it to say “Zombie Loves You!” Zombie Duckie also ended up with changes due to my not getting enough of the purple thread for the shirt, which resulted in a rather large hole in the shirtsleeve. I liked the end result, but that was not planned at all.

Robot Duckie quickly became Bender’s Duckie, due to Futurama love. I wanted a touch of color and DMC had come out with fluorescent light effects floss, which I used for the eyes and antenna ends. I used pink fluorescent to do “Bender’s Duckie.” One strand worked best when working with the light effects floss, it’s easier to manage and flattens out quite thick.

Vampire Duckie felt like it took forever, but I had a lot of fun with it. Rather than go with Maître d’ look popularized by Bela Lugosi, I went with a richer look for the clothes. I wanted a vest which resembled brocade. I think I managed that, but it felt like that vest was never going to end. Everything else was a piece of cake in comparison. A little bit of blood on the fangs was added to counter the cheerful expression and because, well, it’s a vampire – there must be blood somewhere.

Nerd Duckie was next and that one saw considerable change. I tire of the default geek = male, so I decided to make Nerd Duckie decidedly female because there are a lot of us glasses wearing geek women out there.

This gave me the opportunity to use variegated floss for the hair. I also used a subtle variegated floss for the shirt, DMC’s Color Variations Glistening Pearl. I chose red for the glasses frames because that’s my personal favorite color for frames.

Next was Pirate Duckie. I decided to add a pirate shirt and a tentacle had to make its way in there somehow, being as we’re both cephalopod lovers too. After giving it some thought, I decided to go with the classic black on Ninja Duckie.

This also simplified it considerably for me, because I had a lot of shading planned for the gray version. This was for a couple of reasons – the black is not only classic, but it’s more vivid and striking and I was running out of time at this point, so simpler made things go faster. Devil Duckie was fairly quick stitching, using two shades of red. I added quite a bit of shading for variation.

What kinds of embroidery techniques and stitches did you use to bring the ducks to life?

The fabric I was using is a lightweight cotton, so once the duckies were drawn on the fabric, I drew an outline of the duckie on a permanent iron-on stabilizer, cut it out and applied it. Then, two layers of tearaway stabilizer were ironed on. I went with split stitch for the bulk of the embroidery, it’s a rapid stitch and is very durable and stands up well to washing.

There’s also a liberal amount of outline stitch and satin stitch throughout the Duckies. In Pirate Duckie, there’s padded satin stitch (for the shirt ruffles) and running stitch in the tentacle. I used 3 strands of floss for all the duckies except Ninja Duckie, where I used 6 strands, as black floss has a tendency to stitch thin. Each duckie needed a pantograph to secure it to the batting (I used Warm & Natural needled cotton) and I did something different for each one, using glazed cotton quilting thread.

Any challenges along the way? What advice would you give someone trying to create something like this?

Plenty of them, most all of them due to oversight on my part, such as not getting enough floss for Zombie Duckie. When I first started Nerd Duckie’s hair, I went with Turkey stitch. I did a rather large section. Once I cut the thread, I hated how it looked. It’s an absolute nightmare, removing cut Turkey stitch! Don’t use it unless you’re absolutely sure it’s what you want to do. This goes for any stitch you aren’t sure of – it pays to have a piece of fabric hooped for experimental purposes.

I also forgot to pre wash the fabric on several duckies (always pre-wash!), which left me with upsetting tensioning problems when finished. Thankfully, that turned out not to be a massive problem once I did the pantographs. Doing a project like this can be a lot of fun and that’s the key – choose something which truly delights you, something which you can add your own touches to and something you won’t get bored doing.

What’s your next project going to be?

There’s a La Calavera Catrina sculpture, a museum piece, which I want to translate to embroidery on canvas and two Urban Threads trees (Natura and Skeleton tree) which I want to do on canvas (stretched and barred, extra heavy artist’s canvas). Then, a Skully quilt! This time, an adult-sized quilt, single size for a futon, somewhere in the neighborhood of 42″ x 72″. I think.

Thanks again Chris for sharing this amazing hand embroidered creation. I love how each duckie came to life in their own unique way, and what an amazing quilt they make! I cannot wait to see your next creations.

Do you want to have your project featured on StitchPunk? Drop us a line at blog@urbanthreads.com or upload your Urban Threads stuff to our flickr group!

Featured Project- The Wonderland Quilt

Today’s featured project came to us in a fleeting glimpse one day in a flickr roundup, and passed without another mention. That was a terrible shame. This quilt was simply too gorgeous to let by without comment, so we found its creator, Tuesday, and asked her to share a few more details (and exclusive photos!) with us about this wonderful whimsical Wonderland Quilt.

I wonder if there are any more “w” words I’m overlooking here. Wistful? Wise? Wow-inducing?

Now I’m just reaching. I’ll go grab my thesaurus and get back to you. In the meantime, let’s let Tuesday tell us a bit about what went in to this creation…

Talk about what inspired this. What’s the story behind this quilt? How did it get started?

The Alice designs on your site inspired me to make this quilt and transform my bedroom into an Alice in Wonderland theme. I feel that as you are dreaming you are entering through the looking glass into another realm.

What embroidery designs did you use? How did you go about designing it?

I wanted the quilt to be light in color to set off the embroidery designs (which I just love), with the designs in brown and pink and pink satin squares to soften and add visual interest.

I also used other designs from Urban Threads that I thought would go with my overall design. I chose the unicorn emblem and the necklace to add a bit of fun whimsy.

Talk us through the process. How long did it all take?

I made the quilt from white linen on point, which means all the squares are turned to form a diamond pattern for the background. I then began by sitting at my embroidery machine all afternoon (at that time I only had a simple Singer Futura which you had to watch closely in case of any thread breaks) and proceeded to make all the designs for the quilt (around 35 in total) with a few remakes due to thread breakage.

I embroidered the designs on a heavier (same color) lightweight muslin, then cut out all the designs leaving a ragged edge which leaves a nice fray as it is washed.  I placed them randomly but aesthetically all over, but thought it still needed more flair, so I came up with adding squares of linen, muslin, and satin at different angles and on top of one another to add a layered effect.

I then used the fancy stitches from my machine to go around all the squares so they look like they were patched on, and made a circular pattern on all the satin squares.  It gives them textural interest as well as feeling really cool to the touch! I sewed all the designs down with a simple straight stitch, going around the edges and tacking down in a few key areas so they were left puffy but secure.

I decided to use a brown flannel geometric print for the back which would keep with the whimsical aspect and match, especially since you would be seeing it on the binding on the front of the quilt as well . Then on to the quilting machine it went with a lightweight batting in the middle. I quilted the main body with a random stippling effect and quilted each square following the edges to the center.

I was at the thrift store later when lo and behold I saw someone had taken the fringe off a bedspread and was for sale for 99 cents (what a find!). I thought it was perfect for the Alice quilt. I came home and sewed the fringe on and it was perfect.

I placed the quilt on my bed and thought it just needed a little something, so I made a matching pillow the same way as I had made the quilt, with a larger design of “Drink Me” in the center, and matching fringe as the final touch. 

The quilt is layered over a deep purple velvet bedspread which peeks out from around the edge. This quilt has started my bedroom on a wonderful transformation –  fun, romantic and with a touch of whimsy. I am a very determined sewer so the quilt only took 2 weeks to make!

Everyone who has seen it just loves it. 

Any challenges along the way? What advice would you give someone trying a similar project?

I never see a problem, just a different avenue!

Looking back though, I might have made it a little bigger as it is only full size. The only advice I would give is let your imagination run wild, have fun and if something goes a different direction go with it and make it your own.

What’s your next project going to be?

I have many projects in the works all the time as I am a painter, quilter and designer. Right now I have a Mad Hatter quilt in the works, with the hatter in the center of the quilt (at 3 feet tall) with a gorgeous pieced background and butterflies flitting around him. I also have a dragonfly quilt in the works and many more.

I make quilts for friends and family and also to sell, they are truly a piece of my heart.

What a truly gorgeous creation, Tuesday! A quilt like that in only two weeks, that has to be some sort of record. I love that it feels so perfectly contemporary yet traditional all at the same time, and looks so cozy and textural with all those layers and dimension. The perfect quilt to wrap up in and get lost in a good book I think.

By the way, a Wonderland themed bedroom? Yes please…

Featured Project – Ancestry Quilt

We’ve got an amazing new featured project for you today, one that spans generations of work, pulled together a family of crafters, and traveled back and forth across the country in its journey to being made!

Stitcher Jeanette and her two sisters created this quilt together as part of a thank you to a cousin who had spent many hours gathering treasured history of their family. What started as the idea of a simple wall hanging transformed into this stunning ancestry quilt as the sisters sent it back and fourth across the country to be made.

Jeanette tells us the fascinating story of its creation…

Talk about what inspired this. What’s the story behind this quilt? How did it all get started?

One of our cousins spent most of her adult life gathering genealogy that she compiled into a 500-page book, complete with photos, maps, and copies of all the documents she had found in her quest. She recently sent these to each of us and our parents (who are in their nineties). We were very touched and so happy to be able to pass on this knowledge to our adult children and their children given that we had no real “roots” to share with them, as we grew up moving around as “Army brats.”

My two sisters and I wanted to show our appreciation to her and conspired to make the wall hanging. The concept changed several times as we looked over options – everything from a “throw” to a book cover. We finally settled on a wall hanging.

Did embroidery inspire the parts of the quilt? How did you choose your designs?

I had no idea what the wall hanging should look like but imagined it filled with symbolism. My youngest sister, Jennifer, was trained as an artist but has not worked in that field for many years, so instead of drawing she told us what she “saw” when she thought of the quilt. She could “see” a raven, clocks, and a tree. I wasn’t sure what a raven had to do with genealogy but honored her vision and did some internet research. Lo and behold – in Welsh culture, the raven is a symbol of wisdom and the keeper of ancestral knowledge. How perfect!

Talk us through all the embroidery… which designs did you use?

Keeping my sister’s vision in mind I did an internet search for any form of art depicting a raven that I could find. As a last resort I included machine embroidery in my search for raven and found the Urban Threads site. When I saw the Clockwork Magic design set my jaw dropped open. Not only were there ravens but also clocks, gears, keys, etc. in that amazing design set. I chose the ravens, keys and pocket watch for the main designs I’d use. Then I found your Roots and Branches design and thought I’d gone to heaven.

How long did it take to make it all?

If we had lived near each other and not experimented so much I think between the three of us we could have finished the quilt by working on it several hours a day for a week or so. As it was, we conceived of it in September, started “piddling” around with experiments in October, began stitching in earnest in November and mailed it to our cousin in January.

Starting, I still didn’t know how I would incorporate the Urban Threads designs into a wall hanging, what size it would be or any other detail. None the less, I found an 18×22 piece of green Asian fabric that I thought would look great with the black of the raven and proceeded to embroider one of these.  The raven looked great but I didn’t use enough stabilizer and it altered the dimensions of the fabric, so I cut off a piece of that fabric and tried again. I still wasn’t happy so did another raven on an even smaller portion of that fabric and when I looked at them spread out, and the concept for a layout appeared. This was the beginning of the evolution of the project.

In the course of the process, I experimented with designs from the design pack and pinned them with the background fabrics to some brown flannel.  The tree took the longest to embroider since it is so rich in thread play. At this point I felt I needed to pass it on to my other two sisters, both of whom live in Colorado, to see how they would interpret the piece and add their touches. All of us work full time and the mail was pretty slow during the holidays getting back and forth across the country, so you have to take that into account.

Once the incomplete pinned together work got to my sister, Jacqie, she conceptualized the gold cotton borders that could have writing on them.  She and Jennifer spent a good portion of Thanksgiving weekend experimenting with writing tools and finally found that a plain Sharpie worked better than designated “art” pens. Jennifer wanted to practice writing first but Jacqie insisted that she use her unrehearsed, natural, printing in keeping with the “raw” look that we were going for. She and Jacqie spent more time selecting phrases from the genealogy book than actually writing it but it was a warm, interesting experience for both of them. We think the sizing still present in the unwashed fabric actually helped prevent the ink from bleeding.

The in-progress quilt on its way to the next crafter.

Once Jacqie sewed borders onto the brown flannel and sewed raw edge applique on the other shapes, she experimented with trying to machine quilt (combining top, batting and backing with sewing machine) the piece. When she was done she mailed it back to me in Texas.  There were several agonizing days where we feared it was lost in transit but it did show up, albeit a few days late!

Once I got it back, I had learned my lesson with the stabilizer problem on the ravens so I made everything that was going to be appliquéd on stabilizer plus a thick Pellon interfacing. This made them stitch out beautifully.  I colored the white edges of the Pellon with permanent colored felt pens which also added to the dimensionality of the object.

Inspired by the writing on the borders, I used a piece of the gold cotton to transfer some of the photos from the genealogy book with inkjet transfer paper. This was a first for me also. I found that selecting “mirror” image in my printer properties made everything come out just right for the transfer. I was skeptical about how this would work, but the photos looked appropriately ghostly for the topic. I did a simple decorative machine stitch around them to set them off.

The other fabric pieces were added to cover up boo boos I made when experimenting with adding extra puffiness behind the front pieces and were simply heat bonded on. Had I not been afraid of dragging the project out too long, I might have done this differently but there comes a time when all good things must come to an end and we wanted to get this to our cousin while she is still young enough to enjoy it!

Any challenges along the way?

I’m a novice machine embroiderer so I made several mistakes I won’t make again. When embroidering the Roots and Branches I was working on another part of the project and didn’t notice that it wasn’t signaling me to change threads. Ouch! After some research it turns out that PES format probably isn’t the best one to use as the commands may not translate well into my machine.  Fortunately, your website allowed me to revisit my purchase and download another format without charge (I’m using SEW and HUS most of the time now).

Also, we had thought I would finish quilting the piece on my long arm machine, but as I studied it, I realized that this would not “add” anything to it, so I elected to stitch around the shapes instead. In the process I knocked the beads off several times and finally resorted to not only sewing them back on but using fabric glue as well. Lesson learned – put jewels, etc. on AFTER all the sewing is done.

What were people’s reactions to the quilt and to all the embroidery?

We have been awed by the reactions of people who have looked at this. None of us feel as if it is something WE created but something that was created through us. Even in the initial stages people seemed taken with it – someone insisted my sister pull it out of her bag in the fabric store and show it off when they saw the edges peeking out.  My mother and father spent quite a bit of time poring over the unfinished piece. My father couldn’t get enough of reading about his ancestors and my mother was awed by the embroidery and embellishments.

Everyone comments on the quality of the embroidered stitch-outs. The raven’s wings are three dimensional – you can almost see the feathers. The tree is an amazing blending of colors and layers – people seem to feel compelled to touch all the designs and feel them. I am particularly fascinated with the overlay of mechanical parts on the raven’s wings and the gears on top of and behind all the designs in this set.

Our cousin has emailed us repeatedly telling us of family members she has shown it to in Georgia, where she lives. She seems very pleased!

What’s your next project going to be?

My sisters and I now want similar pieces for ourselves so we’ll be making them to honor both our mother and our father in the future. I’m running scenarios through my head, thinking about these Urban Threads designs and others – I’m envision letting the concept pick the embroidery and the embroidery enhance the concept. Thank all your artists and digitizers for inspiring us!!!

Thank you, Jeannette, and your amazing sisters, for sharing the story of this creative creation with us! Not only will this be an amazing quilt for future generations to share, but the story of its creation is almost as fascinating as the family history it portrays. I know I can’t wait to see what your next ancestral quilts look like. And seriously, incorporating steampunk into your family history? Awesome.

Do you want to be a featured project on StitchPunk? Drop us a line at blog@urbanthreads.com or upload your Urban Threads stuff to our flickr group!

Grave Rubbing Art Quilts

You simply must check out these absolutley stunning grave rubbing quilts by Susan Lenz. They are so intricate and melancholy and beautiful.

The Cemetery, Grave Rubbing Art Quilt Series

The detail, colors, and washes that make up these pieces of art are just so delicate and wonderful to look at. Go visit her blog to see some amazing detail shots of this piece, and many others from the Grave Rubbing series. They really are spectacular.

Comma Workshop



I’m loving the soft and sweet quilted typography from Comma Workshop. They make their embroidered pieces by hand and by machine, and they’re just divine. Thanks to Poppytalk for sharing!

Tutorial – Embroidered Growth Chart

A beautiful idea for making memories into heirloom worthy quilts! Guest blogger Emily on the long thread shows how to make an  embroidered growth chart of your child’s progress. Get the how-to.

Via Craft.

Flickr Roundup

A shiny new blog deserves a shiny new roundup! We’re starting fresh here, so let’s take a peek at what pretties have shown up in the flickr pool lately…

I'm So Retro bag

This little retro disk was a popular little freebie awhile back, and people have made all kinds of adorkable things with it, including this awesome little bag from Kentfield.  We actually have a printout of this design taped to the side of one of our computers in back.

Yes, we’re that retro.

 

Finished boots

Some seriously awesome boots from fiftyfirstcrafts, from everyone’s favorite sweater boots tute. I am loving the colors and seriously loving the cross design she chose.

 

alice in wonderland quilt 2

Can you believe this quilt? Look closely – that’s dozens of our Wonderland designs stitched alll over it!

I drool.

Though not on the quilt though. That wouldn’t be nice.

This stunner was stitched up by horsehaircreek and I think we agree we’re all in love.

 

Zipped Pouch

*In soviet Russia, machine embroiders you!*

Sorry.

Adorable little zippered pouch from donmark26. Plus, how cute is that little nesting doll fabric?

 

Maneki Neko

We got to show a little love to our hand stitchin’ peeps, and I am so in love with this fuzzy little needle punch kitteh.

I seriously don’t think that guy could  get any cuter. I hope karalynnn has some seriously epic plans for kitty.

 

zombie hand angle

Finally, feeling an epic hunger for braaaiiinnzz yet? No? Well, that’s probably good for the rest of us anyway…

You know, I have to say, there’s something really beautiful about the marriage of zombies and polka dot fabric. I think zombies should try it more often. It would give ‘em a little pizzaz.

This precision stitched piece of zombie perfection has been brought to you by TiLT creations.

And the letter Z.

I think we’re off to a fine stitchy start here, peeps. Keep adding your fine threads to our the Urban Embroidery flickr pool and you might see them featured here!