Monday, June 9, 2014

Blog Hop! “Heirloom Sewing Techniques for Today’s Quilter”

Welcome to the first stop on the blog hop celebrating Cheryl Sleboda’s brand new Quilting Arts Workshop! It’s called “Heirloom Sewing Techniques for Today’s Quilter: Smocking, Pintucks, Gathers & More.” The 76-minute workshop is available in both DVD and digital download.

Cheryl is a fiber artist who loves to manipulate fabric; she also has found cool ways to light up her work with LED lights. She uses heirloom dimensional fabric manipulations like smocking, pleating, or tucking; and cutting-edge technology like LEDs, microprocessors, or circuitry to create unique fabric art.

I first met Cheryl last year on the set of Quilting Arts TV, and then again this March, when I was hosting for the first time. Cheryl works in the comic book industry, where she attends lots of Comic Cons (short for Comic Conventions) and meets some pretty interesting characters. For fun, she makes innovative fabric art.  

“As art quilters we tend to want to add volume to our work, by adding embellishments and other surface design techniques,” says Cheryl. “These are just more techniques in that arsenal for quilters to use. All of the techniques in garment and heirloom sewing are usable to bring a different dimension to your work, and I love that.”

I have to admit that these techniques were all completely new – and mysterious and somewhat intimidating – to me. But by the end of watching Cheryl’s DVD, I felt certain that I could do them successfully. 

In the first section, Cheryl introduces viewers to the materials needed for the techniques. She’s developed a special grid called the Heirloom Smocking Template (available on her Etsy shop) to help sewers draw a smocking grid more quickly. She discusses fabrics and threads, rulers and templates, hand needles, pins, and feet. 

The next section is about smocking with grids. Cheryl demonstrates “North American or Canadian smocking” techniques, where she draws grids (using her special tool or regular rulers), then marks patterns and hand stitches them, sometimes pulling in the fabric, and sometimes knotting it to stop it from pulling up. This creates fabulous texture on the other side (the right side) of the fabric. She shows samples of basketweave, arrowhead, and serpentine smocking. Here’s her basketweave smocking:


Next, Cheryl covers sewing in circles. She draws patterns of circles on fabric, then hand stitches in a running stitch around each one, pulls it up and knots it to create five variations: puff, petal, pancake, pompom or pucker. These make beautifully textured and dimensional patterns.

In the fourth section – Gathers, Puffs and Flowers – she demonstrates how to adjust tension and stitch length to create gathering effects that makes the fabric scrunch up.  Gathering along a long strip (hemmed on one side) and rolling to create a rosette. She goes on to explore pleats and pintucks in the next two sections. Creating pintucks was a mystery to me, but Cheryl clearly demonstrates how to select and use pintuck feet. They come in different widths, and you have to select the correct size of double (or “twin”) needle to match the foot. She shows you how to use cording to stuff a pintuck.

At the end, Cheryl
talks about how to approach sewing these dimensional pieces into a quilt. This requires explanation because the techniques pucker and draw up the fabric, so it has to be stitched down and squared up before it is trimmed. Then she uses some of her beautiful work to demonstrate how to use the dimensional, textured pieces you can create with the techniques from her DVD. They include blocks for quilts, garments, samplers, pillows and entire quilts. 

The techniques in this Quilting Arts Workshop were completely new to me. I feel like I’ve learned some new tricks to put into my repertoire; they just might show up in future projects! Cheryl is a great teacher. Her calm, step-by-step approach makes these techniques easy for anyone to learn.

You can buy Cheryl’s new DVD, her “sewing skull” merchandise – t-shirts, tape measures, mugs – as well as her Heirloom Smocking Template and other goodies, on her Etsy shop. From the Quilting Daily Shop, you can purchase a copy of the DVD for $24.99 here, or a digital download for $19.99 here

Here are all the stops on the blog hop. Come along and post comments for a chance to win fun stuff!
June 9 - Susan Brubaker Knapp -
June 10 - Maddie Kertay -
June 11 - Faith Jones -
June 12 - Lynn Krawczyk -
June 13 - Julie Creus -
June 16 - Catherine Redford -
June 17 - Megan Dougherty -
June 18 - Pokey Bolton -
June 19 - Jamie Fingal -
June 20 - Cheryl Sleboda -

Win one of Cheryl’s Heirloom Smocking Templates and a copy of my newest DVD, “Fabulous Finishes: Seven Techniques for Binding, Facing, Framing & Hanging a Quilt”!
Leave a comment after this post and tell me a little bit about why you’d like to win. I’ll draw one winner at random at 6 p.m. Eastern time on June 20. Make sure you leave me your e-mail address, or some way to reach you. And check back on June 20 to see if you’ve won. Make sure you visit the other bloggers listed above for more chances to win. (Sorry; my giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only.) 

Note: If your comment does not show up right away, please don’t freak out. Please post only one comment. I now have to moderate/approve all comments, because I was getting a ton of Japanese porn spammers leaving comments on my blog! 

We have a winner! BeckyPB won. Thanks for reading, everyone.