Fused fabric – Chinese zodiac animals and a few fish

Last year I took a Craftsy class called Hand Stitched Collage Quilts from Laura Wasilowski.  It was one of the first classes I took from Craftsy and was a definite success.  Here are a couple of projects I made during the class and inspired by Laura’s books:

I love fused fabric quilting for wall hangings because I can add embellishments like embroidery and buttons and still finish in a reasonable amount of time.  And this type of applique is also very quick.  After a few projects, I now have a lot of scraps and don’t have to spend a lot of time fusing the webbing to a lot of fabrics.  Just larger pieces need to be fused and I can begin the more fun part of cutting and ironing.

My children are originally from Taiwan, and they love to hear about their Chinese zodiac animals.  So,  I decided to make them wall hangings of their zodiac animals.

One son is a rooster.  I love bright batik fabric, so his rooster is a full feathered guy, with a black button eye.  I added some feather stitch embroidery here and there to make sure everything stayed in place, and we hung it above his dresser where it looks out over the room, and apparently wakes him up each morning at the crack of dawn.  That boy has never slept in in his life, so that part of the rooster label fits very well.

My other son is a pig.  Not just any pig, but a golden fire pig, which is considered very lucky and only happens every 600 years.  To be honest, we don’t know a lot more about the zodiac than we have read on Wikipedia.  To add to the doubtfulness, the description of fire pigs doesn’t fit my son well and would also apply to every other child born in the same 12 months, making them all equally rare (?) and exactly the same.  But he enjoys the idea that he is a rare and lucky child (along with every other kid in his grade) so we go with it.

For his wall quilt, which is very small, I went crazy quilt style, on top of the gaudiest and goldest (not a word?) fabric I could find.  The photos don’t really do it justice.  It gleams in both threads and sequins.  He loves it and it is hanging right above his bed.  I need to add a little more support – all those buttons at the bottom have made it start to sag a little.

The next project was perhaps a bit too ambitious.  I wanted an underwater sea scene for our cabin.  It got a little out of hand.  I just couldn’t stop adding to it.  Really, I needed an editor to rein me in, or Tim Gunn to wander by and order me to stop adding embellishments.  This one has it all – fused fabric, embroidery, buttons, even crochet and knitting.  (Can I just say that I LOVE that there are knitting patterns for barnacles?)  It took me forever to finish because I kept wandering off to other bright and shiny projects that caught my attention.  This one taught me to stick to smaller, quicker projects.

Knitted barnacles on the coral reef

My most recent wall quilt defies that size lesson, however.  My sister loves koi, and her husband, in random order, and she asked me to make him a koi quilt for his birthday.  More fish!  How could I say no?  After looking at Google images of a lot of koi photos and paintings and quilts, we came up with this quilt.  I sped things up a lot by skipping hand embroidery and going with machine stitching.  I added a lot of free motion quilting in the fins and the lily pads and to outline everything.  Lots of texture without all the hours and hours of hand embroidery.

He is flying in tomorrow and I’m anxious to find out if he likes his surprise.  My sister seems sure it will be a hit.

Yellow Bird Stitches begins

After reading so many wonderful and inspiring crafting blogs, I’m adding a blog of my own to the world.  (Hi, Mom!)

The online community has taught me so much.  I might have managed knitting without Ravelry and the bloggers and video postings, but I probably wouldn’t have been as versatile or had the range of projects that I do.  Thanks to online help, I learned to knit things like this:

Mom’s lace tablecloth

After knitting, the next fiber craft I added was spinning.  After a trip to the county fair where there was a spinning demonstration in the sheep barn, I casually commented to a friend how fun it looked.  She pulled her mom’s spinning wheel out of the attic and I was off!

Some of my early yarn

Spinning soon became dyeing and spinning.  I started on a wheel, and later learned to spin on a spindle as well.

Next came weaving.  I’ve kept this part of my fiber hobbies low key.  I use a 24″ rigid heddle loom, and don’t get too fancy with the weaves.  But it is a great way to use all that yarn!

hand spun scarf

For some years, this was enough fiber crafting for me.  Spinning and then knitting or weaving the yarn filled a lot of spare time!  And with work (as a middle school librarian) and family (two little boys and a husband) there wasn’t a lot of spare time.

And then, a year and a half ago, we moved, from Washington to Oregon.  And my job didn’t.  Suddenly, there was a lot more free time.  More crafts were needed.

So I added a new sewing machine and took up quilting.  Lots of blogs and online videos and Craftsy classes later, I make both fused fabric quilted wall hangings and full out blanket sized quilts.  With the move I got a small but mighty dedicated craft room, so I can keep the fiber and fabric from taking over the rest of the household.  (Insert sound of family laughing hysterically here.)

Finished Quilts

That’s my fiber journey so far.  It definitely isn’t finished.  There is a never ending list of patterns and fibers and fabrics to try.  I can’t wait to see what comes along next.