Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The 100 Day Project

Have you heard of The 100 Day Project? it is an initiative where you commit to doing something, anything, everyday for 100 days. What that might be is up to you, you choose, I decided to jump in and see if I can actually keep up....... 3 weeks in and so far so good.

What am I doing for my 100 day challenge? I am drawing (digitally on my iPad) every day and posting on Instagram. In most cases I can complete a drawing each day, in others, where the drawing I am working on requires more time than I can dedicate, I am posting progress shots.
as an example, this chickadee.....the entire drawing is made up of dots and took several days to complete

I am playing with some graphic black and white ideas

and trying to work with colour more

When I began, I did not start out with the thought of using my toy sewing machines for inspiration.....but trying to draw every day means not spending a lot of time "thinking" of what I want to draw. I have lots of these little machines, in lots of colours and shapes, so it just kind of happened.   :-)

Interested in what else I have been drawing?
You can find me on Instagram Jill Buckley @Quiltrat

Monday, April 2, 2018

Surface Design on Clothing

Surface design on simple garments, like tank tops, is a great way to combine creativity and practicality. (..and...if it does not go according to plan, you have not wasted a lot of fabric) Lately, I have been creating a few new summer tops. This grey jersey has a lovely feel but it is a little boring so why not dress it up with some stencils, paint, thread and maybe even a few beads.
With this top, I started by drawing the pattern outline shape so that I would have some guidelines to work within. I used stencils I designed and cut myself
(I used window film to make the stencils, you can see how I do this in an earlier post here )

I used a stencil brush to apply the textile paint. The fabric is pinned onto a piece of foam core to keep it from slipping about and also provides a good surface for stenciling

Once I had completed stenciling, the paint was heat set with a hot, dry iron to make it permanent. Next I began adding some "outline" stitching.
With the hand stitching done, I then cut out the top and partly assembled it because I wanted to add a few beads and did not want them to be in the way as I machine stitched the shoulder seams, neck and armhole bands. I left the side seams open for easy access allowing me to continue with hand stitched details and beading

I tend to do the hand stitching and beading in the evenings while watching TV ( Netflix) A piece of felt glued into a small margarine lid makes a terrifically portable beading tray.

I have more of that same grey jersey, so this time I am adding dots. Now, because it would be rather difficult to hand cut consistently perfect dots, I used a commercial stencil for this.

This time, I cut the top out prior to stenciling. I stay-stitched the neckline and armholes to keep the bias edges from stretching out of shape while I manipulate the fabric.

In order to make sure the dots would flow nicely across the bottom, I stitched one of the side seams partly closed near the lower edge to ensure that stencil design would be unbroken

I will post the finished top once I get back to the sewing machine.

Rather than putting up a separate post, this one has been updated to include a photo showing how this top with the stenciled dots looked once completed (with a close up of the stitch detail)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Feature article.

Many of you know that I have a collection of toy and miniature sewing machines. I was recently asked to compose a short article about my collection and well....about these little gems in general. The article appears in the current issue of The Canadian Quilter and I just noticed that it is also a "featured" article which means there is a link to it so that it can be read online. If you would like to take a look, you will find the link here.....look for it under the heading for Canadian Quilter Magazine Spring 2018

If you would like to see individual photos of the machines in my collection (well most of them, I still need to post more photos) You can click the "Toy Sewing Machine" button on my sidebar
But here is an overall look at the photos of my machines that I have posted there.

Monday, February 26, 2018


This quilt was made with the intention of  "busting my stash". It is finished, but my stash is only slightly dented. I find it interesting to see how the wonderfully all the fabrics work together as this quilt is made up entirely from a wide variety of fat quarters I had accumulated over the years....the exception being the duvet cover I used as backing and that neutral grey I purchased for the sashing/binding
you can find the earlier posts about this project here.

I made pillow shams to carry out the same look of the quilt. The backs are primarily made up of the last bits of scrap from the duvet.

Like the quilt, I did "big stitch" hand quilting using Aurifil's 12 wt  variegated cotton, these lovely threads were also part of my stash.

I cut a gentle curve at the edge of this 106" x 90" quilt, so there is a lot of  hand stitched bias binding.

Not sure why this one took so long, (might have something to do with hand stitching through layers of batiks and fusing) but for the most part, I suppose it kind of got forgotten and left on the back burner for a while, but it is finally finished .......hmmmm......but....there is still more stash waiting to be used.  :-)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Plain fabric doesn't have to be plain.

A few posts back I showed you a test piece I did where I created surface design by “removing” colour from a knit jersey fabric. Today you will see the same design...but this time, I created it using a DIY stencil, Jacquard textile paint and a sponge.

A friend showed me the work of Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin so you know this piece was somewhat inspired by her work but I am not planning to handstitch my garments together. I love hand stitched embellishments, don’t mind taking time to cut stencils and enjoy playing with surface design, but I am not really interested in handstitching all my seams. I recently ordered her book and am looking forward to seeing what her methods are and how I might want to adapt some of them for use in my own garments.

Now, for the most part the Alabama Studio way to apply paint to fabric is with an airbrush....at this point in time, I do not have one and it seems like a lot of trouble to keep clean and so on. For now, I am using a pretty basic technique by dabbing the paint onto the fabric using a small sea sponge.

I lightly marked my fabric to know where the edges of my pattern pieces would lie and stenciled within that area. To keep the fabric stable, I pinned it in place onto a piece of foam core which also gave me a slight "cushion".

Once the paint was dry, it was then heat set with a dry iron.

to add more interest, I began doing a simple running stitch with 12wt variegated cotton thread around the outer edge of each motif.

Next I cut out all of the pieces of my garment. 

and assembled the tunic. (I own sewing machines and I know how to use them LOL!)

I created the cord using this vintage korking set

looks like someone named Jason owned this before me :-)

This is actually quite an interesting way to enhance a dull, boring fabric.

I have a number of ideas floating about in my head for future projects.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Building a Drop Spindle.....some assembly required

This past summer I spent some time learning to "spin". Not only did I want to spin my own yarn, but I also wanted to make my own spindles. I stuck with the k.i.s.s principle and kept it simple.

What I did not already have on hand only took a trip to the hardware store, where I was able to pick up some wooden wheels, beads and dowels.
Now, they don't need to be pretty to function.....but heck, why not make them nice to look at too! I decided to try colouring them, wanting the beauty of the wood grain show through, but not wanting to go buy several cans of wood stain (would have been expensive and wasteful) I found that my transparent textile paint worked just fine. I used Seta-Colour transparent paints thinned with water.

Once the parts were dry, the spindles were assembled and a couple of coats of varnish were applied. I pre drilled a tiny hole to make it easy to screw the cup hook in the center of the dowel. In order to get a nice tapered end, I just used a pencil sharpener.  Told ya I kept it simple.

Not only do my spindles work great, they are a little less boring to look at now.

I find it interesting that a few bits of wood and a cup hook can transform a pretty pile of fluffy fibres (this is a Merino and Tencel 50/50 mixture) to a beautiful finished yarn ready for my needles.

Copyright Jill Buckley