Sunday, November 14, 2010

Threadpainting (free-motion embroidery) Workshops with Karla Spinks

The members of CinC, with a few guests. We were at Julie's Sewing Center in Appleton, WI.

Back Row : ?? , Karla Spinks (Teacher), Lois, JoAnne, Pat
Middle Row : Brenda, Betty, Lynda
Front Row : Michele, Theresa
In October, CinC sponsored a 2-day workshop on Threadpainting with Karla Spinks.

This is a thread-painted portrait of Scott Joplin made by Karla Spinks. His face is entirely made with free-motion embroidery, no computer required. His face is entirely covered with thread.

This is Karla Spinks, our instructor for the weekend workshops. She is showing the woodpecker she is working on. Karla has worked with textile artist, Hollis Chatelain.

Karla's woodpecker with inspiration photos and the background fabric she intends to use for the finished piece.

A detail shot of Karla's woodpecker.

The workshop began with Karla having us thread-paint already painted on fabric. In this sense, it's like coloring or painting with your sewing machine needle. In this step, we were warming up, getting used to free-motion embroidery, adding texture and mixing colors. None of us were absolute beginners to free-motion stitching, so we quickly moved on to the next step.

This is Michele's blue bird, cut out of the hoop and ready to appliqued to a background. This was not done with a computer, or an embroidery module on a fancy sewing machine. If you can lower your feed dogs and set your machine for free-motion, you can do this, too!
I used a photograph as a reference, and penciled in the basic outlines of the bird. Then I just filled in the colors. There are four layers that we're stitching on. From the ground up : stabilizer, buckram (as in book binding), sheer fabric, then the thread layer. The 3 layers are stabilized in the embroidery hoop, which makes it easy to move around under the needle.

More picture of thread painting. Lois brought in this gorgeous quilt based on McKenna Ryan Rhythm of the Sea pattern :

October 2010 Show and Share

Karen finished a beaded face.

Karen's bracelet is sitting atop a piece of Michele's rust- and overdyed fabric inspired by Turquoise.

Lynda's latest woven piece.

A sample of one of Sandy's tie bags, which she demonstrated how to make.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Sandy's Tie Purse

At the October Meeting, Sandy will demonstrate how to make a purse from a man's tie. If you want to sew along, bring the following :

1 wide necktie about 54 inches long. Small over-all design or solid tie works best. Stripes or large patterns cannot be matched easily. Directional patterns are also difficult to match, such as galloping horses, sailboats or golf bags.

1/4 yard of lining fabric
1/4 yard of muslin for interlining
1 1/4 yard of braid for strap
12 inches of 3/8" wide elastic

I will bring a template and you will need to cut 2 muslin pieces and 2 lining pieces. So bring a fabric scissors, rotary cutter, small cutting board.

Sewing machine and matching thread if you want to sew.

It takes a couple of hours to make one. I will demonstrate it and bring written directions. If you don't want to bring your sewing machine, I will show the steps/stages necessary.

Edited after the fact :  This has been one of the most popular posts on this blog.  I get regular requests for the pattern.  Please don't ask : I don't have a pattern to share.  Someone else lead this session and  I just posted her words to the blog.  I don't have a pattern to send you.  And I'm no longer in touch with the person who led the session, either.  Sorry, I can't be of more help on this.  I'm sure if you play with it a bit, you can figure out your own patterns.  Be adventurous!   ;-)
-- Michele, CinC Blogger

Thursday, October 07, 2010

September 2010 Newsletter

SNIPPETS from Conversation in Cloth

Meetings are held on the last Thursday of the Month at the Menasha Public Library at 6:30 PM

September 30, 2010
Members Present: Sandy, Brenda, Betty, Karen, Michele, & Lois

Christmas Party Final Plans (Note Date change!!)
The annual White Elephant Holiday Party will be held at El Aztecca on December 16 at 6 PM. We changed the date so that those members who are also part of Sew Savvy can attend as well. Lois will make the arrangements so that we can have a table in a corner by ourselves. Please RSVP by November 30 to Lois at

El Azteca
201 W Northland Ave # D
Appleton, WI 54911-2600
(920) 996-0983

Karla Spinks Workshop
The Karla Spinks Workshop will be at Julie’s Sewing Center on October 16 and 17 from 9:30 Am to 4 PM. If you missed the registration and still want to attend, contact Lois Wolfe to see if there is still space available.

Call for Challenges!
Karen suggested that it was time for the group to get involved in another challenge. Lois and Karen discussed a challenge that they saw on display at the Madison Quilt Expo in which a piece of red cording was used as a continuous element throughout the entries. It was felt that we’d like to do something like this as we are all different yet ties together by our interests. We talked about using clothesline instead of red cording. Other ideas are very welcome. We’ll make a final decision on the challenge and deadlines ion October.

Should We Do a Show?????
Karen mentioned that it had been a long time since we had displayed our work as a group. The last time was at the Menasha Public Library quite a few years ago. We could approach the library again about doing something similar in their lobby cases or we could also ask the American National Bank if we could be a part of their arts series. WE discussed putting our challenge results into the show. Someone from the group needs to step forward to organize the show if we decide to go ahead. Again, we’ll discuss this in October and make a final decision.

Amazing Creations brought by our Artist Members
Check out for photos of everybody’s work.
Betty – brought a chenille purse and a fleece jacket that she had made. She intends to add beads which will really make it sparkle.
SANDY – wore a jacket that she made from a beach towel and matching fleece. Very colorful and innovative. It also looked warm. She brought photos of the bra that she submitted to the Casting for Recovery auction and directed us to a website of a woman who makes wonderful button necklaces.
MICHELLE – displayed some amazing fabric portraits of her son Oliver, herself and a musician (sorry Michele I forget the name). She used the Art Quilting Series Project 406-2 at to make a stylized portrait out of shades of one color of fabric. Way Cool! She also brought along a new book by Susan Carlson called “Serendipity Quilts” that show case Susan’s unique style.
LOIS/KAREN displayed the zipper pins that they had been experimenting with from directions Lois found on the internet.
KAREN brought in the finished product from the dyed paper towel project that we did. Using mod podge, Karen applied the decorated paper towel to prepared canvasses. The 6 x 6 inch piece is one that will be brought back to the ART GARAGE in Green Bay for their “Art from the Heart” fundraiser. Anyone can participate by picking up a canvas at the Art Garage and adding a design to the face of the canvas. For more information go to . Karen also brought in a necklace featuring a copper slag piece that she picked up this summer and a doll named “Roxanne” that she made at a class at Keep Me in Stitches Quilt Shop and her beaded face pin that she finished.

Treasurer’s Report
Lois intends to provide a regular Treasurer’s Report for you in the future. As of September 30, 2010 the cash balance is as follows:
Beginning Balance $173.28
Expenditures:  Postage stamps for Newsletters $ 8.50
Total $164.78
Revenue -0-
Grand Total $164.78

October 28 – Sandy will demonstrate how to make clutch purse or bag from a man’s tie. If you want to try making one that evening, bring a tie with an all-over design, sewing machine with thread to match, cording for the handle/strap, and a matching button.

Michele brought up the idea of using Facebook or Twitter as a means of staying in touch rather than the current blog system as very few people were using the blog. We can discuss this again in the future, but for right now, everyone wanted to stay with what we have.

2010 Future programs
December 16 – Annual White Elephant Holiday Party
January 27 – Karen will demonstrate how to get started on the beaded boxes (if the weather allows a trip from Green Bay to Menasha).
February 24 – Michelle will bring the Maria Elkins DVD and her samples so we can learn the portrait technique.
March - ???????

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Coiled Baskets from Cotton Clothesline : Demo by Lois

At the September meeting, Lois gave an excellent demostration on how to make coiled baskets from cotton clothesline wrapped with fabric strips.

This picture is looking down into a tote bag Lois made with a jelly roll set. Yummy!

Another basket on display. This one was made from a single fabric. The patterns made by wrapping the strips of fabric is mesmerizing!

More of the baskets on display.

Begin by cutting your fabric into 1/2-inch strips.
Alternatively, if you have jelly roll strips, cut them in half. These strips will be a little wider.

Cut the cord end at an angle, goob it with the glue stick.
Start wrapping the fabric strips around the cotton clothesline cord. Be aware of right and wrong sides to your fabric and what side you want to be showing. It's ok to overlap the wrappings, as you don't want any white clothesline to be showing.
Use a glue stick to secure it the fabric. Wrap as tightly as you can, and use the glue stick as needed to secure it. Keep whirling and twirling until you have a goodly amount to begin the coil.

Lois recommend using your sewing machine's presser foot to hold the end while you continue to wrap the cord. Secure it with a pin when you need to let go.

Start the coil. This may be the toughest part of the whole project.

When you have a few layers coiled, stitch an X across the bottom to secure it. This is a very important step. Don't skip it.

Continue coiling the wrapped cord, hold them tightly together and zig-zag the new round to the last round. Go SLOW.

To curve the bottom of the bowl, work from the inside and tip it slightly, as shown in the picture. It gets easier as you go along.

Wrap the cord, coil it, then stitch. Repeat until you're done.
This is Brenda getting a good start on her basket.

Other options for adding color :
Dye the clothesline (instead of wrapping it).

Resources :

Sue Breier's Books
It's a Wrap It's a Wrap II

September 2010 Show and Share

Sandy's Tie Bag. She will show us how to make one of these at our October Meeting.

Sandy's jacket made from a beach towel with polar fleece lining and sleeves.

Sandy also made a bra that is on display in Bernina's Bling Your Bra Contest. Scroll down to see Sandy's elegant handbag made from a bra. She made another one with Angel fish for Casting for Recovery. Karen and Lois also made bras but they are not on display yet.

Betty's slash bag, with instructions from Coloricious.
It has a chenille-like surface.

The back side of Betty's bag.

Zipper Flower Brooch by Karen and Lois.
Lois got the instructions from Martha Stewart.

Here's another one.

Michele did 3 "beginning fabric portraits." Maria Elkins offers instructions for Beginning Portraits on the Quilting Arts website.

Rock star, Eddie Vedder. Yes, I'm a fan from way back in his grunge days with Pearl Jam. That's a microphone in his hand.

An update to the Oliver Quilt. He's older now. ;-)

Karen finished the beaded face. Wow!

Karen made 2 Modge Podge collages to benefit a good cause (Breast Cancer?) through The Art Garage in Green Bay.

Karen's 2nd Modge Podge Collage.

This is Roxanne, a doll Karen made in a class at Keep Me in Stitches, Appleton, WI.

Karen also made this copper necklace.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Snippets - August 2010 Newsletter

No minutes are available as I wasn’t at the meeting.

September 30 Program – Lois will demonstrate how to make clothesline baskets. If you want to get started working on your own project, bring:

" Sewing Machine

" Jeans Needles

" 100% Cotton clothesline (usually found in hardware stores)

" Fabric of your choice or scraps cut in half inch strips.

" Glue stick

" Coordinating thread

2010 Future programs:

October 28 – Sandy will show us how to make clutch bags from a man’s tie.

December 9 – Annual Christmas Party – we need to make final plans

January 27 – Karen will demonstrate how to get started on the beaded boxes (if the weather allows a trip from Green Bay to Menasha).


Remember: a new CinC program chair is needed. It’s easy. Just work with CinC members to set up demonstration, schedule a field trip or invite a guest speaker. Without one, we won’t have the neat demonstrations that we have had in the past!

Meetings are held on the last Thursday of the Month at the Menasha Public Library at 6:30 PM

Posted by Michele on behalf of Karen.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

August Show and Share

Shout out to Theresa who recently moved to OH. We are thinking about you! Are your ears tingling?

Lynda's latest woven and felted piece from the front.

Back of Lynda's piece.

Cloth woven by Lynda.

Joann's purse.

Joanne is also working on a 20-in Art Doll Mermaid. She says she has been "a process." No pictures as she didn't bring the mermaid along tonight. We look forward to seeing her progress in future ...