Wednesday, May 17, 2017

layers

I use flannel as batting. It is easy to find (thrifted) or old odds and ends at home. The texture also seems to help it "cling" to the quilt top, even with lots of transporting as with all my hand stitched projects. I still pin the layers, but minimally really. I do a lot of my hand stitching on just two layers, top and flannel. Then, I add the back layer and machine quilt the three layers together, hiding my hand stitching thread ends between them.

I am going to try multiple flannel layers in some areas on this project, to add a bit more relief to the positive spaces. I have cut away the negative space flannel and now the back has a interesting look on its own, a bit of raw edge appliqué. I will add another layer of flannel, so positive areas will have two layers of the flannel rather than just one.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Go and see the flags...


I am still stitching stars. These above are hand-embroidered on a pieced field of blue fabrics I inherited from my grandmothers as well as bits of clothing that my boys have outgrown. 

I have been wanting to share a wonderful source of information I’ve found while researching flags and hand-sewn stars. When I started working on my current projects, I did an online search for “hand embroidered stars on flag”. The top result was a link to RareFlags.com, a site which provides information and photos on a portion of Anthony Iasso’s collection of the historic American flag. I find something new and fascinating every time I visit. Many thanks to Anthony for sharing his wonderful collection and knowledge on the history of the American flag.

Anthony says, “Many people are both surprised and amazed when they discover that the American flag that they’ve known for most of their lives has such a varied and storied past. The American flag is a treasured icon, woven through our nation's history. Our national flag, in its many forms, has been present during all of our nation’s wars, national triumphs, national tragedies, and in our every day lives. Flags have been manufactured in factories and sewn in our homes. The number of stars has changed as the nation grew from the original 13 states to our modern union of 50 and the number of designs and patterns found on flags over our nation’s 235 year history are almost limitless.”

Please go and have a look over there - RareFlags.com. Anthony welcomes comments in the Rare Flags guest book or contact him by email with any questions about your own rare flags.

A few of my favorites on Anthony Iasso’s rareflags.com site are listed and linked below (though please don’t limit your visit to just these pages!). 

Methods of Creating Stars

Updating the Flag with Stars

The Suffrage Flag

"Grand Luminary" and "Great Star" Patterns


The detail photos of these flags and the techniques used to make them are wonderful. I am finding the connection between national history and the history of handmade textiles so very inspiring. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

satin stitch five-pointed stars

Hello, I know it's been awhile! I am back to share a bit of what I am working on now - lots of five-pointed stars.

I thought I would quickly show how I am satin stitching my stars. To make your own stars you will need:

• fabric and some scrap fabric behind it to stabilize the embroidery (I used a blue bit of fabric and a scrap of flannel behind as the stabilizer)
• embroidery floss, needle, and scissors
• a scrap of cardstock or thin cardboard to make a star stencil
• a permanent fabric safe marker to draw the stars on the fabric (I used a Pitt Pen with S tip)

1. Draw a five-pointed star on a piece of scrap cardstock or thin cardboard.

2. Carefully cut out the star with an exacto knife.

3. My supplies (probably could have been Step 1). Oh well.













4. Trace the star onto the fabric.

5. Place a dot in the center and connect to the inside corners of the star to divide into five segments.

6. Use 2 strands of embroidery floss (knot in the end) and start from the back of the fabric, pushing the needle through on an inside corner. Take the needle front to back on the opposite inside corner. Repeat moving towards the center to cover the segment with satin stitch. I try to hist center of the drawn line with my stitching.

7. Repeat the satin stitch moving towards the center of the star.

8. Once you have stitched to the center of the star move to another inside corner and repeat the satin stitch towards the center on the next segment.

9. Repeat the satin stitch moving towards the center of the star.

10. Fill the inside portion of each segment with satin stitch so that the center of the star is completed. This stabilizes the center and overall shape of the star. If there's a lot of fabric showing through in the center of the star, a small X stitched over that area seems to tidy it up.

11. Now begin on any segment and repeat the satin stitch working outward towards the point of that segment.12. Then go to the next segment and work towards that point.





13. This just shows the stitch pattern I have been using on the points - the last stitch on the tip is a vertical on top of the smallest horizontal. This makes a nice little point.

14. A finished five-point star, like the ones on a United States flag, except these are stitched by hand and each one is a little different.



I started stitching stars because I decided to make a United States flag with some of my grandmothers' fabrics and clothing that my boys have outgrown. I started with piecing the blue field and stitching the white stars, the white stars on the blue slowly blooming in a familiar a pattern. Working on that led to an idea for another project and so now I am stitching gold stars for a different kind of flag. The gold stars are about 1.25" point to point. I am almost halfway to 50 stars on the gold ones. Almost.

There's something very satisfying about working out the same shape over and over, all different and all the same, the soothing texture of repetition. There's a familiar rhythm to the star pattern, no matter the color of the stars.