The Artistic Eye of Helene Weber

Join Helene Weber as the featured guest blogger today. She takes us on an adventure of looking at the world through an artist’s eyes.

Here’s a glimpse of some of her class projects:

 

 

 

 

 

 

My passion is Art, I live in a world surrounded by Art.  Every morning when I rise the first thing I see is the colors of a wonderful new day, if the sun is shining I see the colors that are portrayed across the sky, the play of sunlight through the leaves creating creating intense color, and the change in color values as the sun climbs above the horizon.  If its a cloudy or winter day I see the monotone of color that creates a starkness to the objects existing in that realm.   I explore each day finding something new that I didn’t know yesterday.

 

In our daily fast paced life we can form tunnel vision – too often our sight becomes so narrow its as if we are traveling through a perpetual tunnel and miss all the beauty that surrounds us.  The old adage “stop and smell the roses” is more so true now then ever.  We walk around with our sights glued to cell phone screens, tablets, computers, bill board advertisements, and other electronic gadgets so much that we literally miss the beauty in all the small details that make up our world.

 

As an Artist I love to record what I see through my eyes – sometimes it might just be a line drawing or a simple sketch or even some quick color blotches conveying what I felt at the moment I saw it.  Other times I file the vision in my mind for reference to use when needed at a later date.  I am constantly studying my surroundings – like taking snapshots with my mind.

 

Quite often I hear students state that they can’t draw or have no artistic talent – maybe when they were younger someone told them that they had no artistic ability and so they quit drawing or coloring.  But Art is not a talent given only to a few, it is a learned experience, Art like any activity in our life takes practice and commitment, just like in sports, some are better than others but it doesn’t mean we can’t all play.

 

The first step to practice is to see what we are looking at (similar to hearing someone talking but not actually listening to what they say).  In our lives we may look at flowers but its not until we stop and study them do we really see the flower.  When looking at a subject, it also helps to break it down into simpler forms, this way we can easily see each component and not be overwhelmed by the whole.

 

Look at a tree do you see the patterns formed by the bark or how the limbs grow from the main trunk.  Did you ever notice that a deciduous tree looks like an upside down rootball?  Its because what you see on top is the same as what the roots look like in the ground.

 

Here is a simple exercise on drawing a tree -

 

Take a piece of paper, draw a horizontal line across the paper 1/3 down from the top- this is the ground line

Now draw the main stem of the root (we are only drawing whats below the ground line) and then begin to branch off from the stem – picture the fibrous roots from a plant you just pulled out of the ground.

Continue to add more roots – When you have added all the roots -

 

 

Rotate your picture so that the horizontal ground line is at bottom of page – you will see you have just drawn a tree – you can keep the branches bare as winter or add leaves

This is a simple picture but it can help us understand that composing a picture isn’t so hard, sometimes we just have to view our subject in a different form or spacial configuration.

 

When it comes to Art, I can’t remember not ever having some form of art medium or tool in my hand, I have painted, drawn, or sculpted in some form or other all of my life.  When I moved into Fiber Art, it just seemed so natural to pick up fabric and literally paint with it – I love the texture, the colors, the ability to manipulate it into various forms and to further enhance it with thread, dyes and paints.  Painting with fabric is as natural to me as painting with pastels or acrylic paints.

 

I also love teaching about Fiber Art , I enjoy creating new designs and techniques to share with my students.  Some of these techniques include working with fabric and embellishments to get form and texture, creating depth and dimension with threads and paints, and alternating patterns to make a design uniquely our own.  It is my hope that students will leave my classes with lots of inspirational ideas to be able to continue to create their own Fiber Arts.

 

Inspired by Helene Weber’s thoughts?

See Helene in Baltimore, Atlanta, Lakeland, Schaumburg and Cleveland this Spring!

 

Some of her classes include:
Bluebird in Spring
Yellow Daylilly
Free Motion Quilting for Art Quilts 

 

Register today!

A One-Woman Quilt Show

Expo instructor, Jean Ann Wright, is being honored all during the month of February with a one-woman quilt show sponsored by the Paulding Fine Arts Association in Dallas, Georgia (yes, Georgia). The PFAA is housed in an historic 19th century courthouse in downtown Dallas. The show is in the restored courtroom.

Jean Ann is known for her innovative strip piecing techniques and for the Creative Grids® trim tool rulers she has designed to make sewing strip pieced blocks faster, easier, and more accurate than traditional methods. Her no-math, no-measuring techniques are simple enough for beginners and variations in making the blocks are appealing to experienced quilters.

Wings, the quilt on the left shows the versatility of combing two trim tools to make one quilt. Waterfall, the quilt on the right uses the original Log Cabin Trim Tool. Both quilts incorporate Jean Ann’s innovative color “wedgies” to insert slivers of color to break up the straight lines of the log cabin blocks.

Jean Ann’s adventures into strip piecing began with three miniature quilts in traditional designs. They are Courthouse Steps, Log Cabin and Chinese Coins.

An overview of the courtroom shows a larger view of the quilts in the exhibit.

Jean Ann will be giving a program for the PFAA meeting on Tuesday night February 25th at 7 PM. The meeting is open and guests are welcome to any quilters in the area who would like to come. www.pauldingfinearts.org

What a great honor, Jean. Congratulations! See more from Jean Ann at the Expo this spring, including Baltimore, Atlanta, and Schaumburg!

Featuring Barnes Sewing Center

Carla Reale from Barnes Sewing Center in Cleveland, Ohio is excited to share her passion for sewing and embroidery! She’ll be teaching a class at the Cleveland Expo called Embroidery Business Beginnings

I have the best job in the world! I love selling sewing machines. A friend once asked me what my favorite part of my job was and after thinking about it, I realized that I really enjoy getting people started with their embroidery businesses best of all. Sending them out the door with all of the equipment, tools and support that they need for their new adventure is very satisfying for me.

At Barnes Sewing Center, we provide thorough machine training, tech support, software support and even provide them with the business information they need to get started. They can buy with the confidence that if they have questions about any of those things, we will be there as a safety net for them. Barnes Sewing Center has been in business for 34 years. We value the good reputation that Bob Barnes has built through the years and take seriously our responsibility to our customers. The sale is the beginning of the relationship, not the end.

 

See Carla and Barnes Sewing Center in Cleveland on April 3, 4 & 5!

Featuring Fit & Fashion

Oticca Beamer, creator of FIt & Fashion, is going to share some of her stellar sewing expertise with you! With over 40 years of fashion garment sewing experience, let her share her passions with yours! Come visit her in Schaumburg this March to catch all of the industry tricks!


FIT & FASHION….you CAN have both!

“Wow, I can’t believe how easy this is!”….which is the typical reaction I receive from the many students who have taken my Fit & Fashion pattern classes.  I love showing how easy it is to design patterns to fit your measurements.  Most everyone who loves fashion sewing struggles with fitting issues.  Commercial sewing pattern alterations can be very tedious and time consuming, not to mention knowing the correct way to actually make the alterations!  We developed the Fit & Fashion system to address and resolve these fitting issues.  By combining the knowledge of slopers and pattern grading, the Fit & Fashion templates (Dress, Pant and Shirt) were born.  All of the garments for your wardrobe can be designed with these three templates.  There is also a Children’s Template for those who love to sew for the children in their life.

 

 

 

 

Bodice Front Template

 

 

 

 

Shirt Front Template

Sewing enthusiasts are interested in being able to cultivate a beautiful, unique look on their own.  And looking good makes you feel good. That’s why we’ve created a variety of pattern design templates to help you give your fashions a unique touch while ensuring that your garments fit your personal measurements.  Designing your own patterns is the ideal way to create your individual style and achieve a fabulous fit – every time!

The key to the Fit & Fashion system is our exclusive Sizing Template.  This fabulous tool is used to mark your personal measurements on a master pattern template.  Then, all you do is connect the dots to get your own personalized foundation pattern.

 

 

 

Your foundation pattern is used to design all of the patterns for your wardrobe.  Your creations will fit because they are designed from the foundation pattern made specifically for your shape and size!  The instruction booklets contain step-by-step illustrations for all of the styling techniques.  We are currently working on instructional DVDs to partner with our template instruction books.  We are very excited about this endeavor.  The first DVD will cover our Dress Template!  DVDs for the Pant Template and Shirt Template will follow soon after.  We expect to release all three DVDs before the end of the year.

In addition, Fit & Fashion Design Sheets provide illustrated, step-by-step instructions for achieving the same look of many fashions found in commercial pattern books.  Beginning with your personalized foundation pattern, you will be able to design each look with a perfect fit just for you!  Here are just a few examples of the Design Sheets currently available:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See more from Oticca in Schaumburg! Register for her classes today, including:
Magic in Minutes: 5 Sleeve Variations
Design Your Own Dresses and More
See you in Chicago!

Let’s Have Some Stitching Conversations…

 

We’re excited about Nancy Shriber being the featured guest blogger today! Check out more from her at the Baltmore Hunt Valley Expo next month! Here’s an in-depth look at her Stitching Conversations event that’s happening during the Expo. You won’t want to miss it.

 

 

 

 

How do you start your day?  Perhaps the better question is how do you end your day?  Like many of us, some of my days offer an opportunity to “start” at such a frantic pace that I know I would be playing catch up until the point of exhaustion.  I know that this type of a day will not offer an opportunity for me to feel creative, to be productive, or feel that I am in charge of my life by any stretch or effort on my part.

So, how do I find a way to prevent that from happening?  Join me on Thursday evening, March 6 and let’s just relax, sip a little tea, talk, and sew.  I find the physical act of picking up a piece of cloth, threading a needle, and taking a stitch, or two helps me settle, breathe deeply and relax.  We have been provided with a very unique opportunity this year, at this venue, to come together and experience something wonderful – a discussion with fellow sewing enthusiasts, an opportunity to share, do a little stitching and bring closure to our active day of learning, shopping and visiting.  Don’t miss this opportunity to stop, breathe deeply and stitch.

 

Who’s excited? What a great way to un-wind! Thanks, Nancy.

See what else Nancy is teaching. Sign up for these classes today!
Sashiko: The Original Slow Stitch
Sashiko: Creating an Artful Garment 

For more classes and information, visit www.sewingexpo.com!

Delightful + Fun: Felted Zipper Art Pin!

 

Expo teacher and staff member, Tammie Cambell is sharing the makings of her fun, new hands-on workshop for 2014, Felted Zipper Art Pin! The office is simply delighted with these amusing zipper shapes. Sign up for Tammie’s Expo class today!

 

 

 

If you’re like me, you like to try many different ways to use ordinary things.

 

Come join this fun class where you use simple craft items and your imagination to create a one of a kind piece of art to wear anytime.

You’ll be doing some hand sewing, felting, gluing and cutting.

Let the zipper guide you and the colors are yours to pick. Embellish with beads as you like and at the end of class you will have a wonderful piece of art.

You can manipulate your zipper into whatever shape you’d like!

Delightful, don’t you think? The kit is provided in the class, and you’ll leave with a finished product to share with your friends!

See Tammie and her other classes at all of the Expo locations!

Paintstiks®, Stamps and WOW!

Laura Murray is an award winning quilter, with a keen interest in surface design techniques such as dyeing, foiling, screen printing stenciling and stamping. She teaches a variety of methods on ways to use Shiva Paintstiks to create original designs on fabric, for use in garments and quilts. These techniques are easy to learn and require no artistic talent. Laura has developed her own line of stamps and stencils, and created several breakthrough techniques using her stamps, fusible web and paintstiks to create amazing, layering designs without the need for piecing. She teaches and vends at large quilt and sewing shows across the country, and is known for her paintstik expertise, along with the hand dyed silk fabrics and handcrafted buttons found in her booth.

 

For those who want a hands-on experience on the basic Paintstik® techniques of rubbing, shading, stenciling and drawing directly, the Wonderful World of Paintstiks provides students with the ability to transform a plain fabric into exactly what they need for a project. Using stamps and paintstiks provided as class supplies, learn how to make a kaleisdecope design in Laura’s StarBuilder Sensations class — no sewing required. The technique can be used on garments or for quilts.

Laura’s newest class, Tantalizing Tileworks (pictured below), combines square and curved stamp designs to produce the effect of Mexican Painted Tiles. Blocks completed in class measure approx 5 1/4”.

Feeling inspired? Catch more from Laura Murray at the Expo this Spring! Take these classes in Atlanta, Lakeland and Cleveland! She’ll even host her own Stage Presentation!

See you at the Expo – coming to a location near you! See the full calendar here.

Mitering Like Magic!

Want to see some magic from Expo faculty “wizard” Debby Kratovil?

Special thanks to the special guest blog from Debby this week!
Magical Mitering – Attic Windows with Savannah Fabrics

Lovely garden themed fabrics: Savannah Collection by Benartex

One of my most requested techniques is that which I refer to as “Magical Mitering.” The Savannah Collection is perfect for this in that I will treat groups of 4 small panels as a “window” unit. For example:

 Two sections of 4 small panels
Two groups of panels with “attic window” strips

Each set of 4 panels measures 9-1/2″. I commend Benartex on making sure that the black sections between each panel measures 1/2″ so that I didn’t have to destroy one panel to cut out another. I was able to get the required 1/4″ around the outside.

I cut the two contrasting strips (yellow and black prints) at 2-1/2″ x wof. Because I am mitering, the strips have to be longer that the 9-1/2″ sides by at least 2-1/2″ twice. So, I cut them at 9-1/2″ + 2-1/2″ + 2-1/2″ , which equals 14-1/2″. You can throw in an extra inch for safety. So, what does this look like?

The first strips extend at least 2-1/2″ beyond the two sides as shown

Center the first two strips (yellow) and sew with 1/4″ seam to panel center. Note that my stitching goes BEYOND the end. We do NOT begin and end 1/4″ away as in traditional mitering. This is important, as you will see in the next photos. I used black thread for demonstration only, so you can see the seam.

Press seams TOWARD the center, so you can see the inside edge of the strips
You now see the extended stitching AND the inside edge of the strips
This stitching will be your visual guide when placing the next set of strips.

Now it’s time to add the next set of strips. Using the extended stitching as your guide to place your sewing machine needle EXACTLY, begin sewing at the stitching and end at the stitching on the other side.

Begin stitching as shown; it’s ok to backstitch to lock in place

How do we press the seams of this second set of strips? AWAY from the center. Then we fold the black strips at a 90 degree angle as shown, which amazingly resembles a miter.

WAIT! IT IS A MITER!
This magically forms the miter without having to wrestle an alligator
Remember I told you that pressing the first set of strips TOWARD the center was important? Here’s why: You use the raw edge of that strip as your guide for aligning the second set of strips (in this case, the black floral). That’s how you get a true 90 degree miter:
Notice how the fold begins right at where you dropped your machine needle
This works on ALL corners
All corners can be folded in the same way
Fold back, pin and get ready to stitch.
Yes, this is stitched with a tiny zig zag and monofilament thread.
Wait? Can I see the back?
Look closely; you can see the stitching. Trim away the excess folded under fabrics.
And now for the reveal of the entire block using my Magical Mitering technique:
Magically mitered strips. You can call this Attic Windows, also
Remember: First two strips get pressed TOWARD the center. The last two strips are pressed AWAY from the center.
I made 4 of these panels. Two of the blocks have yellow on the side and two have yellow on the top and bottom. This way the same colors don’t touch. Well, what does it look like?
13″ blocks and YES! I mitered the borders, too!
 For some reason I get carried away when I start sewing. I almost never make something small. Don’t these Savannah panels look like window panes viewing a lovely English garden?
Want to see more from Debby Kratovil? Come see her at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Baltimore, Atlanta, Lakeland and Schaumburg! Debby will teach Vortex Quilt (BYOF) and other piecing and quilting classes.

Tuesday Tip featuring Expo Faculty Jean Ann Wright

A quilter’s fabric stash is a palette of color for making a quilt…be it traditional or modern. For years my stash was piled haphazardly in teetering stacks that threatened to collapse in a chaotic pile when I tried to search through a stack for a particular color or print I knew was there…somewhere! I thrive in the chaos, I am most creative when I have everything everywhere, but I don’t want to waste hours and hours of time on the hunt for the fabric I need to make a quilt. When I get a new idea for a quilt I want to start sewing right now! I don’t want to waste time looking everywhere for the fabric I need. I want to be at the sewing machine.

Then I attended a presentation by Anita Hallock on organizing and storing fabrics. Her system was so simple I couldn’t believe it. Simply take a length of yardage folded over as it comes off the bolt, wrap it around your 8″ x 24″ Creative Grids® ruler, slip the ruler out, fold the fabric in half from folded side to selvedge side and wella! You have neatly folded fabric. As you wrap more and more of your yardage into individual “folds” you will love the way they all come out the same size and stack ever so neatly on any bookshelf.

I spent one summer folding my huge fabric stash. Every evening I would sit on the sofa and fold fabric as I watched TV. Surprisingly this was a very soothing activity that settled me down at the end of a busy day and put me in a calm frame of mind before going to bed. Folding is a repetitive activity that brings peace of mind and what could be better than stroking all that lovely fabric!

 

 

Here is what my newly organized stash looks like. You can see that I chose to store my fabric by color family in the bookcase with fewer storage shelves. I can now find any piece of fabric I need at a moment’s notice saving hours of time when I am ready to start a new quilt.

In the taller bookshelf I stored specific fabric collections from the fabric companies that I have designed quilts for using those collections. The empty space is for new fabrics I may buy in the future. The long folds in the three shelves adjacent and below are at least five yard cuts that I buy on sale for quilt backings. By the number of backings I have stashed it looks like I have lots of quilts to make in my future.

 

 

Check out more from Jean Ann Wright:

www.jeanannquilts.com
www.jeanannquilts.blogspot.com

 

 

And, of course, come see her at the Expo at any of the first 3 locations teaching a variety of classes including:

See the entire list of classes and workshops online at sewingexpo.com!

Will you ‘Almost Whole Cloth’?

Join Expo teacher, Nelly Vileikis, in one of her great new classes, Almost Whole Cloth.

 

This astounding teacher is taking her students to the next level. With an advanced background in mathematics, Nelly has a tremendous passion for quilting and teaching. She has won numerous awards in local as well as national quilt competitions. For over ten years she has taught in several quilt shops, at many Quilt Guilds throughout North Eastern Ohio, Quilting Get-A-Ways and private classes.

 

 

This class is available for quilters at all levels, with all of the project materials provided for you! Join Nelly for this class in Minneapolis, Tinley Park, and Overland Park!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click the link below to view more details from Nelly’s YouTube video:

Almost Whole Cloth – Nelly Vileikis