This was a fiberlicious weekend! What I mean is that I had some time to explore the fabulous world of fancy fibers and glitzy threads. As you can see in the picture below, I’ve managed to put together a very nice collection of specialty fibers, threads, beads, and couching materials. I decided that it was time to explore the wonderful world of embellishing ~ I’ve been wanting to try out all of those fancy stitches on my Viking Sapphire 875!
So, what can you do with all of these wonderful things? Get yourself a copy of Stupendous Stitching, How to make Fun and Fabulous Fiber Art by Carol Ann Waugh. This is a great resource and it’s never been a better time to get fancy with these fibers.
Carol’s book has wonderful sections on selecting your threads, different types of fibers (cotton, polyester, silk, metallic, and specialty threads. If you see this book, I recommend adding it to your bookshelf. In addition to the chapter on fibers, the book gives you tips on adjusting your machine to use these threads and troubleshooting some common issues that you might experience running them. The book is loaded with beautiful examples and pictures to inspire your creative inner Buddha.
Time for Show and Share! I won’t go into detail (too much) about the project – again – the book has all of the step by step instructions for you to create this project, using your favorite colors, bangles, and fibers, and selecting your materials.
I began with a purple and blue batik fused with a mid-weight fusible stabilizer. The stabilizer is necessary with the decorative stitching to keep it from bunching up. In the pictures that follow you will see my work from the front and back sides as it progressed.
I began by couching down the gold cording and flat ribbons. Couching is a technique where you attach these items to the background fabric using a zig-zag stitch. The threads can either match the couching fibers or contrast. I also used contrasting yarns, and rattail cords. There are so many options, the choices are up to you ~ there is no right or wrong here!
When you are couching remember that you should select the correct couching foot. This means it easier to sew in the gentle curves and not have to work so hard to ‘catch’ the cording and materials as you go. You can also use a piping foot if you are sewing down strands of beads or pearls. Check with your machine dealer to order these feet if your interested. If you don’t want to purchase these items, just be sure the wide zig-zag foot is installed so that you don’t break your needle.
You can see from the back of the project that the lines are gently curved. Leave a little bit of space between your first few couched strands. Later, you will fill in these spaces with decorative stitches and some hand embroidery. I found that it was interesting to echo some of the curves with metallic threads.
The next step was to add the decorative machine stitching. This is a great way to see all of the stitches that your computerized machine can make. Many of them were very wide and created distinctive designs. Play with the width and length of these stitches and get to know your machine. This was a perfect opportunity to use my Superior RAZZLE DAZZLE thread by Ricky Tims and the Sliver and Holoshimmer by Sulky. These are flat ribbon-like polyesther film that has a holographic layer that shimmers. Check them out here!
When I was done with the decorative stitching and the couching, I filled in some of the other areas with hand embroidery. This was not my favorite part of the project as I prefer to use my machine, but I have to admit that this is the part that really made the project POP. I want to hang this on the wall, and I wanted to give it a different look, so I trimmed the bottom in a wave, just for fun.
Finally, following Carols instructions, I attached the cording to the edges of the quilt with a zig-zag stitch. This was the finishing touch and replaced traditional binding. I like her technique an will use it on small quilts in the future – because its easy, and I actually finished it!
This one is done! If I have time to make another one I think I might try a horizontal finish. This project too a LONG time. I like the results and learned a lot about working with specialty threads and embellishments. If you ever run across this book – I recommend adding it to your collection. You might enjoy playing with fibers!
(Authors note: The project was finished over a weekend – a few months ago. Just getting it up on the blog. I spent the weekend sewing and using fibers again. I’m addicted!)