Monday, June 22, 2015

Cushions inspired by Jane LaFazio

I have had such fun making cushions a la Jane LaFazio's DVD "Layered and fused applique quilts". I may just have made 10 of them...Obsessive, moi?
Hand-dyed and hand and machine stitched fused cushions inspired by Jane LaFazio

The thing about learning to dye fabric is that you end up with lots of color samples, in not very useful sizes. I used fat eighths because I was interested in color effects not yardage, but a fat eighth is not a lot of anything. It is perfect for this fused project though! I didn't dye the dark blue circles, that is a Robert Kaufman fabric. I need to figure out how to create a look alike. I love dark blue with brights, and it is a particularly indigo tone. So much commercial dark blue fabric has a heavy purple cast to it.

Once the fusing was done I got to play with all the variegated thread I have collected over the years, and played with my sewing machine's fancy stitches. I found out I can't mirror stitches. How about that. I traded my Husqvarna for a much more upmarket Bernina, and ended up losing a feature. (I love you Bernina, don't pout!)

I really enjoyed the DVD. By the end I wished I could invite Jane over for coffee. She is such fun!

The great part about making 10 cushions was the production line I got going, and the way they could all be different, but the indigo circles gave them some unity.
Hand-dyed and hand and machine stitched fused cushions inspired by Jane LaFazio

Jane recommends Steam a seam, but I have to say I did not take to it. Besides being more expensive than Wonder Under (which I buy by the bolt with a 50% off JoAnn's coupon), I just didn't like the texture. I guess I am a creature of habit!

Once the whole front was machine stitched it was time for the big fun!!! Hand embroidery. I've been watching some Benn and Morgan videos, and Claire Benn often uses the word "meditative" about her process (See sidebar for links). I find hand embroidery very similar. Stitching french knots is very relaxing (until the knot doesn't seat properly, then the air has been known to become a little blue). I wasn't entirely happy with how the middle join lined up. Spiderweb to the rescue! I love this stitch. My mom, embroiderer ace that she is, taught it to me, and it just made sense immediately, unlike bullion stitch, which I have never got the hang of, even though she has demonstrated it repeatedly and it is one of her go to stitches.
Here is how to make the spiderweb
Spiderweb embroidery stitch

The number of spokes and the distance you whip the web allows for different effects. And of course, if you are me, you just can't resist adding some more french knots. 

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