Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Making Flowers from Zippers

When I posted this picture of a zipper rose I had stitched onto a crazy quilt block a couple weeks ago, it stirred a lot of comments on my blog, my emailbox and on the Crazy Quilting International List.  I vowed to do a zipper flower tutorial, and here it is!  

Zipper rose surrounded by old jewelry and findings
I only do three types of zipper flowers, and I will show each of those. You can find a lot more images and tutorials if you Google zipper flowers. The variety is endless.  But let’s get started with some basic ones!

Most of us have zippers in our respective stashes, from back in the day when we used to sew, or from that great box of old sewing stuff we bought at a yard sale.  Or whatever.  One of the most popular looks around now in jewelry is florals made from zippers, particularly with the metal teeth. But there are almost as many flowers made with the plastic, color-coordinated teeth, particularly when used as hair adornments (or pins, or shoe decorations) for young girls.

Supplies you will need:

Zipper (metal or polyester teeth), virtually any length or color
Craft scissors or rotary cutter
Needle and sturdy thread
Straight pins (optional)
Button or other embellishment as desired

Basic Rolled Flower

Select a zipper at least 7” in length.  If you have longer zippers, you will be able to get a larger flower out of each side of the zipper, or make two (or more) flowers from each side.  After making a few flowers, you will learn how much zipper you need for each type of flower. In some cases, you will be able to make up to six flowers out of one long zipper! That’s economy!

At 45c, this zipper probably dates back to the Stone Age, LOL
If you have a separating zipper, that’s great.  If not, you will need to separate the zipper into two parts.  For this you will want to use either a pair of craft scissors or a rotary cutter. Be smart - do NOT use your good shears! (I don’t need to explain why, do I?)  Cut off the bottom metal (or plastic) tab by slicing off the bottom tab with your craft scissors or rotary cutter.

Scissors point to the cut area.
Beginning at one end of one zipper tape, roll tightly to form a center.  

Sometimes it helps to roll teeth-side down on a flat surface to keep your flower from “telescoping”.

Every once in awhile, take a stitch across the zipper tape with your needle and thread.  I always double my thread for (1) strength and (2) my sanity. I always lose needles if I don’t double the thread.  ;-)

Pretend you don’t see the condition of my gardening hands...
Continue to roll and stitch until you either come to the end of you tape or you get the desired size.  Knot and cut your thread.

The back of the flower should look something like this.

Gathered Flower

For the Gathered Flower, you will need a longer zipper - probably at least 12”, but could be even longer. Begin the flower center the same as for the Basic Flower (roll center tightly).  Then you will use your needle and thread to gather - with smallish but not tiny stitches - the zipper tape.

There are two ways to do this.  You can gather an inch or two, pull it up to form loose gathers, and then tack with stitches to the rolled center. Repeat until finished.

OR (and this is my preferred way), you can just stitch your way all along the length of the zipper tape at one.  Spacing does not need to be perfect, but you don’t want the stitches to be too large as they will leave visible gaps in the rose.

Once the stitches are complete, you can then pull them up gather the whole length at once.

The next part is a bit fiddley, but basically if you keep the teeth up and the gathering down, the rose will nearly wind itself into position.

At the end (and using the same needle and thread that you have not cut from the gathering stitches), fold back the trimmed zipper tape under the flower and tack down.  You will also want to take several tacking stitches along the backside to secure.

At this point, for any of the flowers, you can tack them to a quilt block, add a felt backing (and a pin back if desired) to make brooches, etc.  

Loop Flower

Once again, select your zipper.  You will want at least a 14” zipper for this 5-loop flower.  If you want more loops, select longer lengths.  Cut off your end tab again and separate sections. You will work with just one side, so this zipper will make two loop flowers.

For the 5-loop flower, mark the zipper tape into five sections with an air-soluable pen (or you can just use straight pins).

Using your threaded sewing needle as a spindle and beginning at one end of the zipper, make a loop, TEETH SIDE UP.  The markings you made will help you keep the loops relatively equal. Each mark represents where you should pierce the tape with the needle. Try to think of this needle/spindle as the center point of the flower, around which you will rotate as you make each loop.

For the second loop, take the long edge and make another loop, manipulating as necessary to keep the teeth side up.

Repeat for the third loop, which will naturally place itself between the first two.

Repeat for the fourth and fifth loops.  See the picture below.  After this picture was taken, I actually readjusted that last loop (just take it off the needle and redo). I also recommend folding the tape back here to avoid any loose ends showing.

At this point, you could sew on a button, beads, sequins, or another rolled flower to the center portion. I just used an old silver button as you can see below.

FINISHED!  See how easy that is?!?

From here, of course, you can add foiliage, layer the flowers, make a cluster, or more.

I hope you enjoy this and if you create your own flowers, please share pictures! And watch my Etsy shop, as I will be listing zippers this week!


Cathy maroon

Monday, July 25, 2011

Catching Up

Hi all.  I am almost done with the zipper tutorial; will probably post that tomorrow later in the day.  In the meantime, I have a few things to share. Sort of like Show & Tell, LOL.

Now that Bruce is officially retired, he is not only cleaning up his laBORatory, but also beginning some of the “honey-do” projects that we’ve had around for awhile.  One of them is putting up new house numbers by our mailbox to replace the almost 50-year-old tarnished ones that have been there from Day One.  These are hand painted Mexican ceramic tiles, set in a wrought iron frame.  The numbers are out of sequence, which I would rather show than when they are actually up and in the right sequence.  :-)

The above picture I saw on one of my favorite blogs, Empress of Dirt. Just had to pass it on so you could enjoy, too!

And finally, this is one of the cool things that I found at an estate sale this weekend.  It’s a finished needlepoint picture, in pristine condition.  I love the colors, the arrangement, everything.  It measures about 16x20”.  I would really like to do some sort of CQ-ed frame for it.  It would have to be simple, so as not to compete with the picture.  Right now it’s up on my design board so we can “talk” to each other. There are a few other projects that need doing first, so this one can percolate for awhile.   Oh, and I only paid $3.00 for it....

Tomorrow: The Zipper Flower Tutorial (if I have any energy after tending DGD London all day, LOL). I’ll be showing you three variations on making flowers with zippers - for your crazy quilting, collages, or to decorate headbands, handbags, etc.

Talk to you then!  Hugs,

Cathy maroon

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lost Quilts

It’s something we always have in the back of our minds when we send off a piece of our work.  What if it gets lost? Goes missing? Is stolen or otherwise unaccounted for?  This is always a sad occurrence, but when your loss is a world-recognized award-winning quilt, into which you put your heart and soul (to say nothing of the expense) AND it is the quilt that graces your very own book cover, well... words fall short.

This week C&T Publishing announced in a press release here that three quilts and a table runner have gone missing from the Spring Quilt Market that was held in May here in Salt Lake City.  As a crazy quilter, I am of course, particularly distraught that among those quilts was Allison Aller’s jewel, Crazy in the Garden.

It is mortifying that this could not only happen in our quilting world, but that it actually did happen here in Salt Lake City.  It is not known (or at least is not known by the general public) whether the quilts were  stolen at the venue, “acquired” by someone in the packing and shipping process, or lost in the mails.

Many quilters are posting these pictures on their blogs, and they have also been listed in the Lost Quilts website.  Everyone seems to be stunned, frustrated, angry, and saddened.  Condolences are being offered all around, as we needleworkers all understand their loss.

Since many of my readers are Utahns, I would like to appeal to you to keep yours eyes open as you are out and about locally at quilting or needlework shops or quilt gatherings and the like.

Perhaps with all of us working together, spreading the word and being additional sets of vigilant eyes, these lost quilts can find their way home.   We quilters - traditional and crazy - are practiced at working together toward a common goal.  Our politicians could take a lesson from us.

Cathy maroon

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Last Steampunk CQ Block Finished

Whew. This was a hard round robin because it turned out that Steampunk is more easily interpreted with “things” than with stitching. But working on Colleen’s block - the last one for me - was really fun. Of all the blocks in the round robin, I believe hers had the best background (“canvas”) on which to work, and it was also the largest at almost 15x15”.  Colleen had even stabilized hers with a thin fleece-type backing, which was not only brilliant but necessary.

Colleen’s Completed Block
When the block came to me, the black items were all in the bottom half of the block; the black trim on the left with rivets, the black fabric piece in lower right and the “chicken scratch” in the lower half of the white piece. I added the black lace curving around the center area, the “Late Edition” ribbon,  and the black trim on the right. I felt that helped even out the black in the block.  

Then I added an old crocheted key motif, which I had been holding on to for the perfect block. This was it. The block was large enough to handle it, and keys are such a great Steampunk motif (so is black and heavy lace). It also served to break up a lot of the vertical directionality of the piecing and trims in that area.

Winged Hearts
Kathi S had added the winged heart on the right (on the scrap of wool), so I decided to repeat the motif with a vintage-look heart button and some metal stuff that looked like wings.  Another spot on the block would have been better, but being the last one to work on the block meant that there were not that many open spots. 

The clock and metal circle were already on the block, and they rather reminded me of a watch. So I added some old broken chain (gotta love broken jewelry!) to make it look pocketwatch-ISH. 

And finally, I topped it off with some STITCHING, which I was itching to do (tacking on THINGS doesn’t count as stitching).  So, I laced the thin brown patch with some variegated perle cotton. 

I love the way this piece turned out - very textural and so much variety. Colleen - I hope you like it!  It will be winging its way to you in the next few days.

And now I will focus on cleaning up my studio for the rest of the week so I can decide which project(s) to tackle next.  I am really thinking that my Seascape Valance needs some attention, and I hope to begin piecing my big CQ by 2012.  And I have a couple other ideas up my sleeve, but I will save those for another post.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

In the meantime, I have added fabric packages to my Etsy shop.  It seems I get one big category tackled every week or two.  Next I would like to add sewing supplies (zippers, gripper fabric for children’s feet in sewn items, and so much more).  But next up will be the Zipper Flower tutorial first...

By the way, the Anniversary Sale in my Etsy shop will continue through the end of the month, so feel free to use it even if you have already purchased and used the code already. Just type in JULY11TENPERCENT during checkout (where indicated for coupon code) and your discount will be deducted.  

Until next time, 
Cathy maroon

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Another Treasury Feature!

Lucky me!  One of my dyed lace butterflies was featured in an Etsy Treasury!

Treasuries are groups of items specially selected to fit a certain theme. They are curated by whomever wishes to take the time to jump through all the necessary hoops to curate one, and are presented to the entire Etsy population.  It gives one a lot of exposure, and the past two treasuries I have been in have always helped generate sales.  Woo-hoo!

Check out the treasury here.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Cathy maroon

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bits and Bobs ...

Today I’m just doing a quick post to share some of this week’s happenings with you...

This is the apron I was asked to make for my friend Darci at work.  She picked the fabrics and style. It turned out sooo cute (much better than the picture shows) and looks adorable on her.

And her are the latest pictures of my dear granddaughter London.  She is almost 23 months (where does the time go?) and is a very active and chatty little toddler.

I need to buy her some magnetic letters to play with on the refrigerator, since she has a fascination with refrigerator magnets!

These pictures were taken on Tuesday, and we just let her hair go all curly.  That is a sippy cup (not a bottle) that she is drinking from.  After all, she is a Big Girl!  

Lots of teeth now... Loves her “Dammy” (Grammy - me), and “Papa” (Grandpa Bruce), goes down easily for her afternoon nap, loves cheese, strawberries and peanut butter (there’s a girl after my heart!), loves Boomer our cat (the feeling is NOT mutual, hehe), and loves to “weed boots” (read books).  Wish I could freeze time!

Cathy maroon

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mid-Year Goal Check-in

Well, we passed the mid-year mark a couple weeks ago and it’s taken me until now to get a moment to sit down and review my progress against the goals I set for myself for 2011 (needlework-related goals).  

This time of year is so busy for me - one of my grown sons had a birthday, Bruce and I celebrated our 8th anniversary yesterday (we didn’t forget this year! LOL).  Plus working part-time at the Farm, building my Etsy, Bruce’s surgery and retirement (and all the paperwork that goes with THOSE), tending DGD London once a week, plus stitching, sewing private commissions, the garden..... whew! But I love it all.  Well, maybe not the paperwork.... So, here we go.

1.  Goal: Participate in 3-4 CQ round robins.
Progress:  Complete. (I have one block left to mail, but it is done except 

for writing in the booklet).  100%

2.  Goal:  Piece my "CQ by 2012” quilt and have half of seamwork done.
Progress:  None, except that I’ve decided on my colors and basic design idea.  This is the same as 3 months ago, but I have been gathering things, and I can feel the desire to work on it finally building.... planning to start in September or October.      10%

2.  Goal:  Piece my "CQ by 2012” quilt and have half of seamwork done.
Progress:  None, except that I’ve decided on my colors and basic design idea.  This is the same as 3 months ago, but I have been gathering things, and I can feel the desire to work on it finally building.... planning to start in September or October.      10%

3.  Goal:  Enter at least 2 CQ or quilting competitions.
Progress: I entered the CQI annual purse contest and won first place this year.  There is another contest I had planned to enter this month, but time is getting away from me and I realize it will not happen.  Must look for something else.    50%

4.  Goal:  Teach a CQ class locally.
Progress:   No progress on this in the last three months.  I keep vacillating, but DH is encouraging me (and you, too, BJ!), so it may happen.    0%

5.  Goal:  Attend 3 CQ retreats or gatherings.
Progress:  Have attended one (CQ Adventure in CT) and am registered for two more: the CQI Retreat in Colorado (September) and the Victorian Stitchery Retreat (Pink Bunny) in Wichita in November.   - no change this quarter -      33%

6.  Goal:  Take a class with Carole Samples.
Progress:  I am registered for a 2-day class with Carole Samples in Wichita in November!!!!  This remains the same, so since it is already paid for, I am going to mark it as  33%

7.  Goal:  Finish (or give away) at least 3 UFO`s.
Progress:  Last quarter,  I finished and auctioned off my Teatime Wallhanging and gave away (to CQI, who auctioned it off) a wool crazy quilt top, putting me at 67%.  Well, the block I used to make my purse (see above) was a UFO that I reworked, so this one is complete!   100%

8.  Goal:  Finish Seascape Valance.
Progress:  None yet, but I will begin working on it this month.   0%

9.  Goal:  De-stash.
Progress:  More progress here.  This has been relatively easy for me. After gathering up two tote bins full of stuff for CQI,  took a carload of things to the local church Humanitarian Center.  Wheeler Farm, where I work, closed down their costume department and was going to throw away the fabric, laces, etc.  Literally. Into. The. Dumpster.  Well, I rescued them all.  Yes, I did keep some of the lace (nothing there older than the 1980’s), but 99% of it went to the Humanitarian Center.   To it I added a sack of 50 cut-and-ready-to-sew pillowcases that I had been hanging onto for a charity project.  They will assemble them and use ‘em.  
Still up in this category:  We are having a huge yard sale in late August or mid September. I will call this category done AFTER the yard sale, just in case I find more stuff to get rid of.  75%

10.  Goal:  Sew a quilt for London (DGD).
Progress:  Some progress here.  I have decided to make London a quilt from my vintage sheet collection - such lovely floral cottons.  It will be a simple patch quilt with a flannel or minky back. Everything is gathered.    25%

11.  Goal: Ramp up Etsy presence.
Progress:  Woo-hoo!  More progress!  I have been focusing on this in June and July, and the shop appearance and sales show it!  Rather than having an average of 12-15 items, I now have an average of 40-45, some of that in a second category of vintage patterns. 

That is due to a huge box of patterns I ran across at an estate sale.  But I digress.  Next up is adding the fabric packs (this month), the vintage lace and trims (hopefully also this month) and then the vintage linens and vintage fabrics and other (slated for August).     50%

12.   11.   Goal: Begin reselling my vintage fabrics, linens and collectibles.   Progress:    I am going to roll this one into #11 above, because it makes sense. 

13.   12.  Goal:  Conduct a local sew-for-charity event.
Progress:   I could not get permission to hold another Operation Pillowcase at Wheeler Farm, so instead donated them to the Humanitarian Center (See Destash #9, above).  Since they were donated to a charitable cause who will use them, I am considering this complete.  100%

14.  13.  Goal:  Blog milestones: 400 posts, 250 followers,  3 giveaways and 2 tutorials in 2011. 
Progress:    Posts: at 350, 50 to go in approximately 5 months (10/month or one every 3 days. Do-able and on track).  50%.   Followers:  I believe I started at about 178-180 followers and now am at 212.  So we have had approximately 35 (out of 70 hopeful) join us, or 50%.   Giveaways:  Two out of three are done. 67%.  Hmmm... it’s about time for another, wouldn’t you say??  LOL   Tutorials:  One done (needlebooks) and one planned (zipper flowers).  50%. 
Overall in this category:  55% 

So all this averages out to about 50%, which is right where I should be.  So why do I feel guilty because some items are still at 0%??   And another thought - what if my goals change mid-year?  I am not sure that I want to teach this year.   Right now I prefer to focus on Etsy (and a couple other irons I have in the fire) and not spread myself too thin.  Or is that just an excuse?
Did you set goals for yourself this year?  How are you progressing, and what, if any hurdles are you experiencing?  Were your goals realistic?  Have they changed or remained the same?  I would love to hear your goals, progress and thoughts...
Cathy maroon

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crazy Quilting Steampunk Style

Last weekend I finished another block in our Steampunk Round Robin at Crazy Quilting International. As I worked,  I wondered how I could further combine traditional crazy quilting (motifs, stitching) with the Steampunk style.  Steampunk is often described as “Victorian Industrial”.  Think of Jules Verne, fantastic flying machines, or a computer that looks like an 1890’s cash register.

Earlier in this round robin, I had combined stitching with metallic parts, to come up with some varied Steampunk motifs.    This included both seam treatments and individual motifs fashioned of buttons, beads, washers,  and lace.

Because the block belonging to Kathi S was constructed in blocks (you’ll see it momentarily), each square or rectangle lent itself to a motif.  Also, all the seams were stitched down with raw edges showing, giving it a very basic, building-block feel. Perfect for a steampunk backdrop.

The first motif I added was a zipper “rose” surrounded by a gaudy old earring topped with a filigree charm.  The other earring from this pair (which I found in a North Carolina flea market for 25 cents) appears on my Images of Africa quilt, LOL.

I had bought large lot of these black separating zippers to sell in my Etsy shop and wanted to try it out first for flowers, as zipper flower embellishments are quite popular now. It worked great - I just ran a gathering stitch along the tape side, then pulled to gather it a bit. After that, I just coiled it and tacked it down. And I used about half of one side of the zipper, so the entire zipper would make 4 roses!  I think I will need to add them to the shop!

Victorian Friendship Rings, Steampunk Style
But by far my favorite motif was this Steampunk take on the traditional friendship circles in Victorian embroidery.  These are three rings from an old necklace I had.  Cool, huh?

Here is the block as it now looks. It will be on its way to the next stitcher in a day or two.

Cathy maroon