The Quilts They Are Finished!!!

I started making these quilts in 2011 right after I made Nathan’s baby quilt which was my first quilt. (I am not a quilter, so I decided I should start out with something small.) Ok, ok, it only took me four years to finish these, but I didn’t work on them continuously.

quilts

I started with sewing scraps of fabric together just to get a quilting mojo thing going.  Then I started buying old clothes at thrift stores and taking them apart for the fabric.  Some friends gave me fabric.  Someone across the street threw out boxes and boxes of great fabric!  I bought fabric sample books
on eBay and a box of scraps from a quilt maker on  Etsy.

A

Gradually, I settled on  Log Cabin Pattern.  Since the idea of making the blocks all the same made me want to stick a needle in my eye, I decided to make them all different and had fun with each one.  The only rule was that the colors had to work.  Oh,  and I settled on a size of 12 inches square for each finished block.  I taught myself to chain piece and I became a quilt block berserker for a while.

B

The quilts are 6 blocks across and eight blocks long

Headboard

 Years  ago, I painted a headboard  on my wall.  Makes it hard to rearrange the furniture!

Nightstand

My husband said he quit drinking in case he woke up one day and looked at his night stand.  This is from my painted furniture phase.

Quilt Back

I made my own binding, machine sewed it to the front of the quilts and hand sewed it to the back.  Here’s a good quilt binding tutorial.

QB2

I used fleece blankets as the filling and flannel sheets on the back.  I machine quilted by stitching in the ditch around the  blocks.  It wasn’t that difficult with a walking foot.

mirror

The view through the mirror on the wall.  This is the companion piece to the nightstand.

I don’t have plans to make another quilt although I do have a third quilt top left over.  It could happen!

More Ideas for Making Jewelry Tools

Even though I have posted articles on making simple jewelry tools, there is always something more to learn.  Here are some of my recent efforts: You can make texturing hammers  out of cheap ball peen hammers. I filed the faces of the hammers  and used grinding tools on my flex shaft (you can also use a rotary tool) to get some interesting textures.  I didn’t have any instructions; I just made it up as I went.   If you try this, however,   wear safety goggles,  because  they hug your head with no gaps for tiny metal fragments to fly through.  When sanding and finishing metal, I also wear a dust mask because you can breathe in tiny metal particles.  You might want to go a step further and use a respirator.

You can also file and grind metal punches and chisels to get great texturing effects.

Here are examples of textures I achieved on annealed copper with the tools I made.  The upper left was made with the altered chisel.  The other three were made with the altered hammers.  I worked on a metal block.

Another tool I love is a gizmo to hold jump rings while you saw them.  I first saw a picture of this tool in Robert Dancik’s book Amulets and Talismans. He didn’t give any directions, but  it looked so simple to make and such a great idea that I made my own.  You can buy one at John Lewis’ Etsy Shop, and  you can find directions on how to use it on Barbara Lewis’ blog, Painting with Fire. If you want to try making one yourself, Art Jewelry Magazine published and article by Howard Siegel that subscribers can download here.

My V block tool.  Not pretty, but it gets  the job done.

It wasn’t until I saw Shailyn Miller’s DVD Rings of Beauty, that I realized how useful a ring mandrel holder could be.  I built a home made version from a wood box that held a bottle of wine.  If you are handy with hole saws or and spade drill bits, you could make one easily and clamp it to your table when you work on wire rings.

 

 

Last in my bag of tricks is a makeshift clamp for small jewelry pieces.  If you are trying to saw a small piece on your bench pin and can’t hold it still, try using a large metal binder clip with a piece of craft felt or other sturdy fabric.   Your piece won’t move and you can saw or file to your heart’s content.

 

Felted Jewelry and Beads.

I had said in an earlier post that I had been in a felting frenzy. I made a few felted Christmas ornaments.  Here are some of the beads and jewelry I’ve been working on.

This bracelet incorporates my polymer clay and lamp work with the felted beads.

 

The bangle on the left is needle felted and for the one on the right, I sewed needle felted beads onto a ready-made felt bangle.

 

Needle felted bangles

 

Some needle felted beads

 

Earrings.  Felted earrings are so light!

 

I prefer needle felting to wet felting although for the bracelets, after I needle felt the wool onto the core rope, I like to give it a bath in hot soapy water and work it so it’s more durable.  I am experimenting with needle felting  bracelet and bead cores from polyester fiberfill (cheaper)  and using the more expensive  colored roving over them.  I have also needle felted undyed  (cheaper)  roving over the fiberfill and then have dyed the beads (you can use food coloring and vinegar) before drying and embellishing.  I have just started  cutting tiny simple designs out of craft felt and needle felting it on to the solid bead.  For one thing, you can make lots of felt dots with a paper hole punch and needle felt the dots onto the bead.

There are plenty of felting supply retailers in the Internet.  Don’t forget Etsy and eBay.  Check out the Red Barn Farm storefront while you’re on eBay.  If you’re interested in trying felting, they have some supplies that won’t break the bank.

Here is a good beginners video from YouTube.

Bargain Tool Sources


Here are some of my favorite sources for inexpensive tools.

We all know about Harbor Freight.   Their rotary tools are great bargains.  They sell a cordless rotary tool that comes with  a flex shaft attachment, collets, drill bits and a recharger.  They sell a corded model   I have been using for years.

When I first switched after my Dremel tools gave up the ghost, however, I found that my Dremel keyless chuck and some other accessories did  fit the Harbor Freight models.   Then I ordered a collet set made by Proxxon from the Amazon web site.    I found that the collet holder fit my Harbor Freight rotary tools perfectly.    I took a chance and ordered Proxxon’s keyless chuck. Guess what?   A perfect fit!  So now, I have an assortment of collets, collet holders and a keyless chuck     that works with all of my bargain basement Harbor Freight rotary tools.

Harbor Freight also sells a small bolt cutter  that works great for cutting heavy wire.

I discovered P and J Tool Supply at Interweave Bead Fest. They sell  rubber blocks for use under steel bench blocks with prices starting at $2.00. They have hammers, hemostats and other gadgets.  When you don’t need a top-of-the-line tool,  check them out.  They carry more expensive tools, but  I have no recommendations either way on these.  I don’t know anything about their hole punchers, for example.  For tools like that, I tend to stay with something tried and true, or recommended to me.

Hye On Beads sells jewelry tools in addition to stringing supplies.  I bought a pair of metal snips for $12.95  that are holding up well for my limited hobby use.  Prices are reasonable and shipping is free.

Finally, we all think of Etsy as a place to buy finished goods, but you know you can buy supplies there too?  And since you’re buying from crafters, they’re likely to be familiar with what they sell.   I have gotten great customer service from every seller, and shipping is reasonable.

One of my favorite vendors for collage jewelry supplies is   GlassSupplies.  If you are interested in trying to make collage jewelry, take a look at this site.  It has everything you’ll need, but you won’t be prodded into over buying, or spending a lot of money on a soldering iron that is more suited to doing a church window than a simple pendant.

If anyone has any other good sources for suppliers, please leave a comment.