495: Making Faces in Fabric by Melissa Averinos

Have you been wanting to take my Making Faces with Melissa workshop but it hasn't worked out yet? You can still learn my method from my new book:

Making Faces in Fabric: Workshop with Melissa Averinos

Making Faces in Fabric by Melissa Averinos

Whaaaaat!?? I know.

This like my...seventh book? It's with the wonderful folks over at Stash Books, a division of C&T Publishing. I am so proud of this book and I can't wait for you to see it!

I know usually you hear about new books months in advance of the publish date and you can only preorder them but in this case it is actually AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW!

Head over to this Amazon affiliate link to buy it (which helps with ranking and that sort of stuff) or if you want it inscribed you can get it right from me by clicking here. (If you do that, you should also take a peek around at all the artwork in the shop!) 

In this book, I show you exactly what I would in class. It really is just like taking my workshop (except without me getting to hug you in person)!

I start with a comprehensive drawing lesson to get you comfortable with the proportions of the face and very simple, non-intimidating instructions on how to draw the features. Even if you don't think you will ever be able to draw a face, trust me - you totally can, you just have to let me teach you!

Just take a look at this before and after drawing by one of my students, Angela Garrison:

Making Faces in Fabric by Melissa Averinos, drawing lesson before and after

That's the difference between the beginning of class and after the drawing lesson! And that same lesson is the first chapter of the book.

After the drawing lesson I move on to showing you how to create the features in fabric. I go over fabric choices (prints vs. solids, etc) and glueing options and talk about how variations in  the size, shape and style of the features can create limitless options for your face collage.

It is SO MUCH FUN YOU GUYS!! Its at this point in class when I am legit FREAKING OUT about how much I love art and teaching this stuff and how psyched I am that everyone is getting it and feeling confident because... you guys? Everyone always does!  Check it out for yourself by looking at the pictures from class in the #makingfaceswithmelissa tag on Instagram

Making Faces in Fabric by Melissa Averinos, table of contents

Once we've played for a while with collaging features and hair I get into the different options for stitching it all down. I share my favorite methods and from those you can choose to make your work look art-quilty or modern, do decorative stitching stuff or strictly keep it utilitarian. 

Making Faces in Fabric by Melissa Averinos

 

After you've learned all that good stuff, I show you how to use your own collage panels in some simple projects. This is how I used one of mine:

Frida Kahlo fabric Collage by Melissa Averinos from Making Faces In Fabric

 

Finally, there are galleries of my own work and student work which I hope will provide you with inspiration and confidence. You can TOTALLY make a face, or ten!

 

If you want me to show you in person, there a few spots left in my classes at Pokey Bolton's January event Craft Napa! I'm teaching  Making Cat Faces (omg!) on Thursday evening 1/11/18 and  Making Faces all day Friday 1/12/18. I would love to hang out with you and make stuff so if you can  make it,  head over to those links and reserve your spot before it sells out!

I still have some teaching availability for 2018, so if you want me to come out and play with your group in person, I would love to. Use the contact form on my workshops page and we'll figure it out! 

I'm so excited! I'll do a giveaway and share more from the book soon! 

In the meantime go buy it on Amazon or if you want me to inscribe it for you then get it here (and pick up some original art while you're at it!) If you're buying from my shop, it will give you a chance to write a note to me during checkout so that's where you can put how you would like it to be inscribed!  Also, free shipping in the US!

xo, 

melissa

PS if you want to help me out, leave me a review on amazon after you've gotten your copy and/or repin these images to from my quilty stuff Pinterest board! thanks a million!

494: my new (to me) simplicity bias tape machine

I'm back to garment sewing! So naturally I'm  obsessed with making bias tape.

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Handmade dresses are even more awesome with contrasting bias tape, amirite?

 

 

 

 

Simplicity doesn't make a bias tape maker machine anymore - why not?? You can only find them secondhand and on eBay people charge a pretty penny for them. 

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I passed up a reasonably-priced one (under $100) a while ago on the Facebook marketplace thingy and I was kicking myself about it for weeks afterward. When I got my sewing mojo back recently I searched  again and there was one available so I snatched that mother up!

It came with a bunch of "tips" - different sizes to make varying widths of single-fold bias tape. Unfortunately it didn't come with the size I wanted to make - 1/2", which is what I like to use to face the neck and armholes on dresses and tops. And wouldn't you know, the 1/2" tip happens to be particularly expensive on the black market I mean secondhand marketplace (everywhere, not just eBay). Hmph. 

But! After looking at the tips that were included, I realized there wasn't really anything that special about them other than they clip into place on the machine base. I used packing tape to hold my regular (manual) 1/2" bias tape maker in place on the machine and gave it a try.

Bias strips rolled onto the spool and ready to go!

 

You know what? It worked great!

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'Regular' bias tape maker taped into place on the machine

This machine is so fun to use! Watching it run through the machine and come out the other side all warm and nicely folded and pressed, without burning my hands with all that fussy pressing myself? It's pretty rad.

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Fresh bias tape, hot off the press!

Also it's just fun to watch, like a pasta maker or play dough fun factory or something. 

While it is AWESOME to have this machine, you still have to, you know......cut the strips and sew the strips together and then press and maybe trim the seams...

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and then roll them onto the roller thing to send through the machine and then wind the bias tape onto a card when it comes out and.... that is all pretty tedious.

 

So it still takes time to make, but it's worth it because adorable custom bias tape:

handmadebiastape.JPG

While we're talking about cutting bias strips, I did try out that 'continuous bias strips' method that you see around the internet and OMGWHYWHYWHY what a giant pain in the ass! You have to mark a bunch of lines, fold the fabric in a certain way and  sew it into a tube and then freehand cut on the lines and just ugh. It made me mad.

continuousbiasstrips.JPG

Continuous Bias Strips method? uh, no thanks.

I would so much rather cut all the strips on a mat with a ruler and sew them together than do that again. I asked on Instagram if it was just me that found it took way longer (and was annoying as hell) and there was a resounding "IT'S NOT JUST YOU!", which made me feel much better. 

Anyhoo. Here are some of my precious bias tapes used on my new dresses!

biastapefacing.JPG

If you just can't be bothered to make your own bias tape but you love the look, you can always buy some from So Biased on Etsy

 Do you make your own bias tape? If so, using which method?

I have SO. MUCH. FABRIC. all washed and pressed and ready to be made into a million dresses, all with adorable bias tape I'm gonna make with this new toy. (You can always see what I'm up to over on the instagrams. ) I have so many things I want to talk to you about, both sewing related and otherwise.

Back soon.

xo,

melissa

492: While She Naps podcast!

Yay, I'm over on Abby Glassenberg's While She Naps podcast today! I'm always nervous when interviews come out, afraid I will have said something dumb! I just listened to it and I think I did ok! 

Do you listen to podcasts? Which ones?

I did this interview last week and it was super fun. We talked about my new fabric line (!) called Yummies, which now that I mention it, I realize I haven't even blogged about yet! Will do that after this post!

yummies logo.png

We talk about how much I FREAKING LOVE teaching my Making Faces with Melissa workshops!

We talked about my quilt My Brother's Jeans winning Best In Show at QuiltCon 2016, and the not-so-awesome things that happened shortly after that. Which I now realize I also didn't really blog about. I am such a slacker!

We also talked about depression --- and that for the last two+ years mine is well managed for the first time in my life!  In the podcast I kind of 'come out' for the first time publicly that I'm on antidepressants, but the thing is I have been on them for years! So it's not just that that has made the difference between being depressed (even while on antidepressants) and feeling... Normal? Fine? Ok? Happy?

People keep asking me what has changed and I am going to finally write a post about it --- I didn't talk about it on the podcast because it's kind of a whole story so I wanted to address it separately. It makes me sad that so many people are still struggling and in pain. Depression IS SO HARD. If my being open about my struggle and being on antidepressants and the thing that made all the difference can help other people feel less alone or be willing to do what they need to do for themselves, then I am all about it. Post about this coming in the next few days, ok? 

In the meantime:

xo,

melissa

491: omg, AWESOME TOWN

OMG, you guys. I made a coloring book! And I love it so much!!

ok, ok. I didn't make it. I illustrated it. C&T Publishing made it. And they did an excellent job! It's a little bit different from regular coloring books - it has 8 jumbo pull-out pages! Like, posters! With my weirdness All. Over. The. Place. They let me be weird! I'm so in love with it!

So there are 8 jumbo pages and on the backs of those pages are borders to color in and then you can use those bordered posters however you like. Maybe you want to color it in and then write a love letter, like a giant love letter, on it? Or maybe tack it on a  bulletin board and fill it with pictures? Or whatever your whacked imagination can come up with. You tell me.

Or you can just decorate your room with the full poster side. Once you've colored it in, of course. The pages are large enough that you can color it in with your friends. At the same time! Geniusy, no? 

Awesome Town is populated with weird cats, hand painted owls, sea creatures of questionable reality, 80's vibes and UNICORNS OF COURSE I MEAN DUH.

Can you believe they let me make this? I can't. I want to do a million more of these coloring books! It was one of the most fun projects I've worked on yet. 

You can get one of your own in my shop! Which is open! That never happens.  If you do get one, and you post about it on Instagram, please use the tag #AwesomeTownColoringBook so I can see! It wouldn't hurt to @ me too. You know, because I am terrible at checking hashtags. 

xo!!

melissa

490: weird cats forever

I'm notoriously terrible at following through on these things, but I'm going to give #the100dayproject on instagram a try. It started yesterday (April 19, 2016) but people do it ongoingly--- I know that's not a word but I like it. Also, autocorrect tried to turn it into 'longingly' which I also like.

I'm too lazy to write out all of what this project is, so I googled up a post that explains it in detail: you can read about it here . Basically, the gist is to commit to making and posting something on ig every day for 100 days. And you can choose your own theme or medium or whatever. 

See, here is the graphic by Elle Luna who hosts it: 

She wrote the book The Crossroads of Should and Must, which I still haven't read. (A topic for another time: I sometimes get mad when I see awesome books because I wish that I wrote them.)

Look at the stream for #the100dayproject on ig if you want to see the posts and different people's themes. 

My theme will be, obviously, #100daysofweirdcats, since I'm all about the weird cats these days.

As you may have noticed:

That's my own lettering that I cut in vinyl to make a quickie shirt to wear last month. It is now my first pick from fresh laundry and I always wish I had more. Moar! MOAR KITTEHS!

I think I'm gonna refresh my Zazzle shop, so standby for Weird Cats Forever shirts that you can grab for your very own. Then we can be twinsies. 

Also, this guy:

Because cats giving the finger is HILARIOUS. (I didn't invent it or anything, I just like it and am riffing on it). Cats can be such jerks sometimes.

So anyways, yeah. Here's my first entry announcing my intent:

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 11.27.41 AM.png

We'll see how I do with this. Anyone remember that time I thought I was going to do a 365 day project like this? HA! Oh, it was cute of me to think that. I know I'm the worst at this consistency stuff, but I am giving it a stab. Heh, stab.

xo,

melissa

P.S. #makingCATfaceswithmelissa is a thing. More on that soon.

 

 

 

 

489: i miss you!

hey, I miss you. I miss blogging.

hi.

I use instagram as microblog (that is, i talk about stuff, not just post photos) but there is something wonderful about the longer form of blogging. I'm coming back to it, ok? Will you be here with me?

I have so much to share. So many things I want to talk about and show you.

Here is an off-the-top-of-my-head list of things I want to blog about:

-um, that time my quilt My Brother's Jeans won Best In Show at QuiltCon. (WHAAAAT EVEN????)

-that time I won Best In Show at QuiltCon and I didn't expect the inevitable negative comments that any Best In Show winner gets. Ouch! ouch ouch ouch! Sigh. I'm ok, it was just a bummer. I have THINGS TO SAY about this. Sometime.

-but also, I TOTALLY WON BEST IN SHOW AT QUILTCON. So, you know, there's that.

-my puppies! we got another golden rescue, Beau. He and Max are the CUTEST together! and omg my Adorable Husband! so cute, right? I totally married that guy!

-i quit my day job, again. Let's hope the 36th time's the charm! 

-after wanting  a licensing agent since 2004, I FINALLY GOT ONE! 

-my lifelong depression finally being managed! just feeling fine is AMAZING. I want to talk about this and make videos about it and do comics about it. It's been about 2 years now I think of basically feeling fine, which I never saw for myself. What a frigging relief!

-I've gained a bunch of weight from eating like shit and not working out and I feel yucky! I'm not beating myself up about it, I just want to feel better. Thoughts on weight/body image, etc.

-Teaching! How much I love it, where I've been teaching, new classes, etc.

...and that's just a partial list I came up with right now as I'm writing to you. So, stay tuned because I'm back in the blogging saddle and I've got a lot to say.

Thanks for being so good to me over the years. Are you still here? 

xo,

melissa

 

 

 

488: I'm teaching now!

YOU GUYS!

I'm so excited. I'm heading to Colorado to do a private teaching gig at Penny Layman's house! You might know Penny better as @SewTakeAHike on instagram and the author of The Paper Pieced Home.

(affiliate link, because why not? more on that another time)

Now, I've been offered  teaching opportunities before and I have said no every time. It has always terrified me.  But after Quiltcon 2015, Penny messaged me to ask me to come to her house and do a small class on my raw edge faces. I was like, "Um, thank you, but I don't teach." And she was so sweet and encouraging and said "We just want you to come and share what you do. No pressure, just a few friends. We'll pay your way and pay you to teach us." 

You guys? Could there be a more perfect way to entice me to try teaching? Not really. Penny is a love. I agreed to give it a try. I was so nervous! Back in February, this gig in late September seemed so far away. And now it's here! And I'm so....excited! 

I've been making a bunch of faces for class samples. 

I've been making a bunch of faces for class samples. 

And since I had already agreed to embark on a teaching adventure at Penny's, when QuiltCon announced that they were accepting class proposals for 2016, I thought, "Huh. Maybe I could do that?" It was a miracle that I put together something on time. And then! It got accepted! Wheeee!

When registration opened,  I was basically just hoping that enough people would take the class so it didn't get cancelled. 

You guys. Both classes SOLD OUT on the first day of registration! That's 24 people in each class! Holy cow! I'm not messing around when I tell you that I was surprised. I love what I make, but I wasn't really expecting to get that kind of reaction to it. Imagine if I had just blown off the call for proposals? I would have missed out on this awesome opportunity to grow and stretch myself and share what I do. I need to keep this in mind when I let other deadlines come and go!

This was my first one with a brown background and I love how it looks! Also, shot cotton eyes!

This was my first one with a brown background and I love how it looks! Also, shot cotton eyes!

So since I booked Penny's and QuiltCon, I decided to do a small, free, invite-only practice class to make sure I can, you know, teach.  Since I wasn't charging for it, my local quilt shop Tumbleweed let me use their space! (Big thanks to Mary Carlson for that!) 

Look at this amazing FIRST TRY by my student (eeee! student!) Beth Stephens:

Student work by Beth Stephens in Making Faces with Melissa Averinos class.

Student work by Beth Stephens in Making Faces with Melissa Averinos class.

Can you believe it? So awesome! The first hour and a half is a basic lesson in drawing faces, broken down all easy-like to make it achievable. About 20 minutes in to the class, Beth said, " I feel like an artist already! I've never been able to do this before!" DAY MADE.  (Huge thanks to my other students Jodi Meenan, Judy Skwar, Jane Greenfield, Jean Necheles, Kate Martin, and Sally Johnson. Some live right in town, but others made the summer trek from Boston, Providence and even Connecticut! Thank you for believing in me!) 

I fell in love with teaching that day. And I didn't even bring write notes to work from! I wanted to wing it just to see what came out naturally ---- and it was AWESOME! There is some fine tuning to do, but overall it felt so natural and fulfilling. Another surprise!

And now I'm getting ready to head to Fort Collins, Colorado to have a slumber party at Penny's.  

Experimenting with a limited color palette.

Experimenting with a limited color palette.

And! I'm now booking workshops all over the US for 2016! (omg omg omg) Hit me up via email (melissa at melissaaverinos dot com) if you are interested in having me  come to your shop or guild. I will be posting info on a separate page once I get all my ducks in a row, but until then email me for info!

I want to hang out with you  and make faces together!

xo,

Melissa

 

DIY Wine Corks featured on Oprah.com!

You guys! 

My book DIY Wine Corks was featured on Oprah.com!  

Here is a little video I did via skype: 

 (OMG)

If you want to do some crafting, you can grab the book on Amazon. Click the picture below!

(odd post beacause i'm trying to do it quickly using my ipad and i feel like i have paws!) 

xoxoxo

486: so many things

Hey!

So many things to talk about! I seriously don't even know where to begin. I sort of lean toward making single-topic posts these days, but it goes against my rambling nature. I just want to hang out with you! And talk about ALL THE THINGS! 

BUT FIRST, this little sign I made for myself one day when I was having a hard go of it,  as you know I do sometimes. 

hang-in-there-weirdo.png

HANG IN THERE, WEIRDO. Ah, I love it. It makes me smile every time I look at it, which is all the time since I set it as my desktop background. 

Hi. I like you. Thank you for being here with me. You are my community, my friends, my peeps. I get so much from my interactions with you on the facebook, instagram, sharing my obsessions with you  on pinterest, your comments here on my blog. Seriously? I'd be lonely without you. You have been right here with me during some of the hardest times of my life and you cheer me on during the best times of my life. Ah, now you got me all misty-eyed. Quit it.

What's up? SO MUCH. 

I'm just going to write a little list of things and then I will  probably end up writing a whole new post for each of them, ok?

*I went to QuiltCon and it was awesome. My quilt 'face #1' won an award!

*I got a puppy in November! His name is Max and he is a giant love. 

*I'm ridiculously, goofily crazy for my Adorable Husband (tm), above. LIKE WOAH. That guy is the best. How did I get so lucky? 

*I've been doing a 'painting a day' challenge! (which I share on instagram and facebook.) I think I'll start blogging my favorites every week. Or, let's be honest, whenever I feel like it. Schedule, schmedule.

Here's one I love:

Weird cats FTW. Markers on paper. Oh, did I say 'painting' a day? Well, whatever. Sometimes it's a painting, sometimes a doodle, sometimes it's a design I do on the computer.  Maybe I should call it something else, something more inclusive. 

*Ummmmm, what else? I feel like there's more. OH! Ha. Last week I shot of video of me talking about crafting with wine corks posted --- you remember I wrote a book on that?

So this little video interview I did is going to be posted on a website on Friday, March 20. 

Um.

On this website called, um, oprah.com!

OMG OMG OMG

There's other stuff to tell you but that made me all nervous so I'm gonna do some escapist pinning of clothing refashions until I forget why I was nervous.

I love you.

xo,

melissa

ps did you notice my pretty new site? (still in progress, but I love it!)

 

485: quiltcon 2015! I'm totally going!

You guys!

Who is going to Quiltcon?? Let's hang out!

I wasn't planning to go, but then on the last day possible (OF COURSE) I submitted my face quilt and it got in! 

So, my quilt that got in. It's the one I was working on in my last post

Here she is all finished:

Face #1 by Melissa Averinos. 

Face #1 by Melissa Averinos. 

Eeeeeee! I love how it came out. If you get my updates on instagram, then you have seen a lot of this lady face.  I posted the whole time I was making it. 

I've been making things all my life--- since middle school. This is my favorite thing that I've ever made, paintings included! 

I actually cried with joy when I finished it.

I plan to make more. This was the first try!

I didn't use any photos or programs or anything. It was all improv. Made it up as I went along, like I do with pretty much everything.

I loved trying out different combinations on the design wall , stepping back and reworking it until it looked right too me.  That's the fun part to me, the creation of something new. Then it was time for the not-so-fun part: piecing it together! There was no easy way to do it but with the help of the camera on my phone I sewed it all together in sections. What a giant pain! 

But it was so cool to watch it develop as the features came together:

Auditioning lips:

Lips done:

So. Many. Seams.

Once the deign was basically done on the design wall, I actually did the piecing and quilting all in one weekend because it was going into a gallery show that Monday. Yeah. No pressure.

I just did some simple straight line quilting on it because: 

1. That's all I had time for. On such a tight deadline I wouldn't have been able to take my time with custom quilting.  

2. I loved it so much I didn't want do anything to alter the look of it or distract from the piecing and design. 

3. I actually love plain ole straight line quilting and it always looks great.

Here it is hanging at Cotuit Center for the Arts, in a modern quilts exhibit I curated (Dang, I really need to blog that exhibit!)

Yes, it is giant. And you can see her in person if you go to Quiltcon next week!

CAN'T WAIT.

It's been so long since I have seen my quilty peeps!! Are you going?? I'm just going to some lectures, no workshops. I plan to go to the Moda party--- you too?

Maybe you want one of my pins?

Any suggestions for things I can't miss in Austin?

xoxo,

melissa

P.S. After a million years with yummygoods.com, I am making the switch to just my name. Now if only Facebook would let me change my page name ----JEEZ. 

 

484: improv pixel(esque) quilt

Yup, another face. 

I can't stop.

If we are pals on instagram (which we totally should be) then you know this.

In my last post, I showed you that raw edge applique self portrait I started. Well I decided I wanted to try a pieced improv face. (A topic for another day: do people respect raw edge applique? I sort of feel like they don't.)

At this point I am just building this face on the design wall. When I get to the actual piecing it is going to be a bear!

Like my mess? You know how I like to keep it real. I can barely see the floor in there. I keep trying to get Stuart to hang out with me while I quilt but he's not having it. He practically gets hives when I suggest it. Ah, well. He's pretty much perfect otherwise, except for not liking pie. (I KNOW)

So I just crank up my Pandora (Joshua Radin or Avett Brothers station = love) and get to work. Play. You know what I mean. 

I love how it is coming out. It is so much fun to see it develop.  I get all up close and change things around and then it's so awesome to step back and see how it all comes together.

Is this a pixel quilt? Kind of I guess!? It's not all squares, lots of rectangles. I would love to try making some picture quilts with triangles. 

A lot of people make pixel quilts and they are always so cool. I don't think I could make one from a pattern though because a.) I realy dislike following patterns, it makes me anxious and b.) for me the fun is creating it as I go. If I designed it ahead of time I wouldn't bother making it because it's the figuring it out on the fly that I enjoy. I paint the same way--- I don't sketch it out first, I just dive in and mess with it until I like how it looks. 

And no, I'm not using any kind of reference for this gal. It's just out of my head. I do plan to do specific portraits but this time around is just from my imagination. 

I get to put kitties in people's eyes.

There are also skeletons and ducks. 

 

I just love improv!

It's really the only kind of quilting I do. I sometimes feel like I want to learn the basics of traditional blocks and stuff.... but then I'm like.... oh look I made a unicorn out of scraps. 

So, anyhoo. This is what I'm working on, among other things.

 

I need to blog more. I miss it. I got my first Mac for my 40th birthday a couple weeks ago so I am still finding my way around. I plan to do more blogging and fabric designing now!

What about you? What are you working on?

I'm SO happy it's summer. 

Also, you guys? It's was a crazy and difficult spring but I am now feeling better than I ever have. I was sitting by the garden about a month ago and I turned to Stuart and said, "I have this weird feeling. I think it's like... happiness?" I can't wait to tell you all about it.

xo,

melissa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

483: giant fabric selfie

Hey, miss me? I miss you. Do people even read blogs anymore?

Couldn't sleep one night last week so I went up to the sewing room and started messing around.

My brains, I can't shut them off. Sometimes I lay in bed with my mind in a tornado. Usually I do. But for whatever reason that night instead of laying there cursing my brain problems (hashtag brainproblems), I got up and decided to play with fabric.

Why did it take me so long to tack up batting for a design wall? I only put it up a couple of weeks ago and I LOVE IT. Nothing fancy, batting and pushpins. You're smart so you probably already have a design wall, but if you don't- you need one. NEED.

Yup. I started a giant fabric selfie.

I didn't really mean to but I just started to throw scraps on the wall and since my default thing to draw and paint has always been faces, I started to make a face shape. I have always drawn and painted self portaits and of course I know my own face best, so ... why not?

Nothing like some giant fabric collage to harness the power of my mind for good instead of evil. Posted to instagram and went to bed.

I wasn't planning to really sew it down or do anything with it other than take the scraps down, but my ig and facebook pals encouraged me to keep going. Since I hadn't secured the fabric at all, I started over lightly glueing it (glue stick!) just enough to keep the pieces in place until I sew it down.

This is where I am so far.

I spent a little more time on it than the first go-round, so it looks different, more like me I think. But I still do like the first version a lot.

Close up:

Obviously I try not to get too precious and perfect with it.

I really feel like I'm just painting but with fabric. More like collage I guess.

Not sure what I will do with it next. I could keep going with more scraps or I could start sewing it down...

I struggle with the term 'art quilt'. We should talk about this sometime. Textile collage? Quilt? Art? I don't know. It's kind of weird to make a giant fabric selfie, but it's fun to play and finally do the things that I feel like I've done in my head for ages. Know what I mean?

Here's a little video of a bunch of the process photos so you can see how it changed and came together as I worked on it.

Not the cutest picture of me, but... for scale:

I'll let you know where I take it from here!

Just wanted to pop in and say hi and show you one of the things I've been up to. I also have a bunch of quilts that I have done for clients lately (click here for my longarm quilting services info! and yes I can fit you into the queue!) and I've been painting up a storm too.

Also, did I tell you I joined a roller derby league? Yeah, like a year ago! If we hang out on ig or fb you know this already. More on that soon.

I miss you. I should get back to blogging.

xoxo,

melissa

(aka Stabby. That's my derby name: Dear Stabby. My # is XOXO, seem familiar? But the o's are actually zeros)

482: Jeni Baker's Shining Stars Quilt

I was delighted when Jeni of In Color Order sent me this gorgeous creation to quilt. So much negative space to play with!

The prints are from her own line Color Me Retro with Art Gallery Fabrics.

The quilt pattern is called Shining Stars and it is Jeni's design. I believe she will be releasing a pattern for it soon--- I will update this post with a link when she does.

I quilted straight lines in the blocks and surrounded them with my 'Melissa Stitching.'

I have a new page about my longarm quilting services which you can check out here if you like!

 

I really love longarm quilting. It's so much fun.

The back:

So, that's what I've been up to.

That, and I finally watched the last season of Dexter--- which was AWFUL.

And maybe drinking some fireball whiskey now and then.

Oh and roller derby.

Have I even told you about this yet?

Ah! I have so much to catch you up on! Soon.

xo,

m

 

 

481: Judy's Newport Crosses Quilt

Look at this beauty I got to do for my second ever custom quilted quilt!

For those who may not know, longarm quilting is considered 'custom' when it takes into account the quilt pattern and seam lines, rather than being an 'allover' or 'edge to edge' which treats the whole quilt the same.

My awesome customer (and friend)  Judy Skwar gave me this gorgeous modern crosses quilt made with inspiration and techniques from Quilting Modern: Techniques and Projects for Improvisational Quilts by Jacqui Gering (aka Tall Grass Prarie Studio) and Katie Pederson (aka Sew Katie Did).

Judy made this for her (VERY LUCKY) daughter in indigo blues and essex linen. It is so yummy. And I'm lucky too because I got to quilt it!

I wanted to do straight lines and pebbles. I wanted to echo the cross shape in the quilting. I wanted to do some stitch in the ditch.

I got a lot of practice in with this quilt!

I used a linen color Glide thread by Fil-Tec.

I like how the quilting lines extend the crosses in some places.

Judy always peices her backs, so here's the rear view:

You can really see all those pebbles surrounding the crosses on the back. Pebbles are fun!

Judy called this one "Newport Crosses" because her daughter lives in Newport. Nice, huh?

I couldn't resist sneaking a few feathers in there:

I am dying to do more quilts like this. Send me some!

xoxox,

melissa

 

480: thready or not

(re: title. oh yes i did)

You know those thread ladies I did?

Well I started to do  more, this time painting them as well as stitching!

I started off painting this lady....

And then I stitched.

Here is a little video. (sorry there is random sound!)

So much fun, you guys.

I am using Derwent Inktense blocks. I didn't use any fabric medium, so I don't expect that it would hold up in a wash. I would need to do some experimenting if I planned to use this on a functional quilt, for sure. The blocks are like sticks of pigment, so i just used a wet brush to grab some of the color and then painted with it, kind of like you would with watercolors. Ok, just like you would with watercolors, except the paint is in a stick instead of a cake. Mmmmm, cake.

Here are a bunch of them all together:

Here's that little cherub before I colored it in. (Sometimes I stitch and then paint, sometimes the other way around.)

 

And here is another little video of the process:

Woah, sorry. That is pretty jiggly!

And sometimes it looks better before you mess with it. I painted, stitched and then painted some more:

I like how it came out, but I think I liked it better before the stitching.

You never know until you try! I love experimenting. I am dreaming up all sorts of things to do with thread and paint!

Meanwhile, happy halloween!

xoxox

javascript:;

479: do YOUR work

I needed a peptalk, so I made one.

Maybe you need one too?

Feel free to print and hang it where you need to see it.

 

xoxoxo

478: log cabin,fear of failure,quilts for boston

My friend Suzanne made this amazing log cabin quilt top like 30 years ago.

Did I mention the amazingness?

And she let me quilt it!

I did a simple stipple. The piecing and the fabrics were so awesome, the quilt didn't need anything else.

I used a linen-y off white threadso it would blend on the back.

It does.

Also, I need a pedicure.

Don't you love how Suzanne arranged the blocks to have these stripes?

Don't you love the fabrics and the colors?

Ahhhh and look at the center!

So awesome.

________________________________________________

I am still in love with quilting, but I have to admit I have not been as much of a go-getter with it as I need to be. You know why?

Well, the truth is I am kind of intimidated!

I mean, I bought this really expensive machine and I redid a room in my house and I spent money and time to go to MQX and ... and.... what if... like,..... well, what if it doesn't work? What if I can't make a go of it? What if it fails like my shop failed?

Sigh.

I know. I know it would still be a valuable experience. I know I would be ok. I know I would figure something else out. I know I have what I need to actually make this work, too. I know if I really really put my heart into it I can have a thriving business.

I mean, I can, right? I tell myself I can. And there is still some very real part of me that is scared of really trying because if I really REALLY try and I still fail, then.... well that just blows doesn't it?

Anyways, setting that aside, I just gotta keep on keepin' on, right? I am slowly plugging away at building this longarm quilting business. I got some business cards printed and even dropped some off at the local quilt store. Want to see my cute new business cards? (Jeez how many more times can I put the word 'business' in this paragraph?)

Cute, right?

Ok, I am stressing out just thinking about all of this, so let me show you another thing I've been working on.

______________________________________________

I'm volunteering my services to longarm 3 Quilts for Boston, organized by the Boston Modern Quilt Guild.

Bayberry Quilters, the quilt guild I belong to on the Cape, sent in 75 blocks! When I finish all three I will post pics so we can see if any of our members' blocks are in them. Like a quilter's I Spy.

_________________________________________

I am obsessively pinning clothes to sew for myself. More on that soon.

What are you working on?

 

xoxoxo

 

 

 

 

477: Heather Ross + Judy Skwar + Chasing Cottons = Awesome

You guys, quilt porn alert.

More magic sent to me by my awesome customer Judy Skwar.

I am so honored that people send me their beautiful work to longarm quilt! I just did simple allover loopies on this baby.

 

Love this center panel of Heather Ross's ridiculously amazing Far Far Away line. (*shakes fist in the air* DAMN YOU HEATHER ROSS!)

And hey lookie there, some of my first fabric line is in this block! The two left vertical strips were from Sugarsnap for Free Spirit.

Always makes me happy to see people using my fabric.

Another view of the loopies.

So cute, right?

But, you guys?

THIS IS THE BACK.

That's right.

Here is the front omgomgomg!

It took me a while to work up to quilting this one because I was so intimidated by who awesome it was! Gah! Lots of Kokka linen! I am so lucky that my customers have such great taste. Oh man, do I love this quilt.

The pattern is the Sand Castles Quilt by Chasing Cottons.

Isn't it magical?

I am coo coo for these little postage stamp borders. GAH.

SQUEEEE! Look at this Kokka linen!

I chose this orange golden color Fil-Tec Glide thread, I think it's called melon or cantaloupe or something like that.

It worked beautifully.

Another castle block.

And more Heather Ross beauty:

Seriously, everything she does kills me.

There you have it!

The amazing Heather Ross Sand Castles quilt --- pieced by Judy Skwar and longarmed by yours truly.

xo,

melissa

 

 

476: melissa squared and a free pattern!

The first of my customers to receive her quilt back from me after longarming it was the lovely and talented Melissa Peda of 100 Billion Stars! In addition to making her own quilts, Melissa sews sample quilts for Westminster's booth at Quilt Market.

This was a quilt of her own design using primarily small pieces of various Westminster fabrics (both Rowan and Free Spirit). See link below to grab a pdf of this free quilt pattern called Roundabout!

I was thrilled when Melissa told me to just have fun with it and do my 'Melissa Freestyle Stitching' which is an allover mix of designs. That is the most fun for me--- it is pure improvisational and intuitive play!

Drawing with thread--- it is so rad you guys.

No stitch regulator.

I think this is my 8th customer quilt. I love longarming!

I chose a sky blue thread because there was a lot of blue in the quilt already. I like how it blends with the blue fabrics but pops on and adds blue to the other fabrics. I bought a bunch of Glide by Fil-Tec (awesome colors!) and I love it. It has such a nice sheen and it doesn't fill the bobbin with lint and make it all fluffy like a cotton candy machine!

When Melissa got her quilt in the mail, she emailed me this,"I got the quilt today! Woo hoo!!!!  It looks amazing! Thank you so much. I love the "Melissa Freestyle" quilting and the thread color is perfect."

This makes me so so happy!!

I love this green flowery fabric --- I am so out of the fabric loop I don't even know what collection or who it's from, but it makes my heart jump a little:

The back was peiced wit ha few large pieces:

 Melissa bound it immediately and sent me this picture, saying the quilt was Cat Approved!

Huge thanks to Melissa Peda for being one of my first customers, for believing in me and for letting me have my way with her beautiful work! Head over to her 100 Billion Stars blog to grab a copy of the free pattern for this awesome Roundabout Quilt  and read her post on our collaboration!

 

You guys, I love doing this.

xo,

Melissa

 

 

 

 

 

475: lady in thread

I can't help myself.

I start some feathers or stipple and then I just....

8699699557_bca2ebecdc.jpg

Whoops! I made a face.

 

These little ladies have been showing up when I'm practicing lately.

 

8700823198_a424f5de34.jpg

 

Apologies for the photo quality--  they are instagrammed.

I heart instagram. Hang out with me there?

 

8700823026_4188f9c8e8.jpg

 

I decided to try one with contrasting thread:

8699699321_b1d624f7fa.jpg

 

Obviously not concerned with perfection on these, just using the machine like a paintbrush.

That's all. Just wanted to pop in and say hi and share my thread ladies!

Mwah.

 

xoxoxo

melissa