Stitch Paper, Fabric Paper and Free Motion Sewing ala Kelli Nina Perkins & Beryl Taylor

Being a very Jill-of-all-trades type of person, I can pretty much do anything I put my mind to.  Once in a while though, I find myself trying something and becoming frustrated because I cannot do it the first time I try it.

Napkin fabric-paper

Napkin fabric-paper - duds to practice free-motion stitching on

Often I just throw my hands up and give up.  Such has been the case with free-motion sewing. I read Kelli Perkins blog, see her beautiful stitch paper and other projects and think, “Oh I can do that – that looks fun.”  Or I read about the fabric-paper in Beryl Taylor’s book and begin a project, only to come to a screeching stop at the part that involves a sewing machine.

Last summer I was introduced to the Bernina Super-Machines and since then my excuse has been that my sewing machine sucks and if I had that $4000.00 model all would be well. Well, my dear, I would just like to say, “have you seen the machine embroidery coming out of Pakistan, Guatemala and other equally impoverished places?”  I’m sure they are mostly using old treadle Singer machines.”  (Yes, I talk to myself too.)

I have made a few pieces that involved a bit of sewing, mainly by muscling my way through, starting and stopping, using the presser foot on the machine. Then a few months ago I bought a free-motion sewing foot and have tried it three times. The last time, yesterday, I ended up pretty much in the same place as the other two times, swearing and frustrated with three or four broken needles. To add insult to injury, I am in the middle of a severe allergy/hay fever season, so my nose was running too.

Couldn’t I just follow the path of least resistance and be someone who doesn’t sew?

Epiphany? Insight?

I woke up early this morning and had an epiphany. This is a three-day, holiday weekend. No one expects anything of me, what if  I apply myself to figuring this out. How about if for 10 minutes out of every waking hour I try to free-motion sew. Practice makes perfect – right?

First three sessions

First three sessions from the back.

And what about a plan. Instead of just jamming ahead willy-nilly,  what if I work on something specific like perfecting making spirals and then other circles of various sizes. If it goes well I can try some other things.

First three sessions - front

First three sessions - front

What could deflect me from my chosen path this weekend? Well we could have disastrous weather and given the way the wind is blowing, we just might. Or the grand kids could come by – they are more distracting than the worst of storms – I should be so lucky.

Session 4

Session 4 in which I started breaking needles again!

What else, well at the rate I’m going I could run out of sewing machine needles.  “My dear, you have great coupons from both Michael’s and JoAnne’s you can get more needles.”

Well what if I do all that and still cannot make spirals and circles or anything else? I just have to say, that I will be better at it than if I don’t try – I probably couldn’t get any worse – so what have I got to lose? HA!

So as soon as I get dressed, it is now 5:45 am,  and get through my exercising, I will begin. I will keep you updated. Coffee.

12 hours later

Now it is about 5:45 pm and here is the update – I am getting better! AND this is going to take more than a little bit of practice. At some point I started worrying about the upper thread tension and went to YouTube and found a tutorial that addressed the issue within 2 minutes!

What have I learned so far?

Session 4 - Front

Session 4 - Front

1. Some things take more than one try. (Or more than many tries.)
2. Some things are worth working at over time.
3. I am a bit embarrassed to put these photos up.
4. This is fun, I like the look, even the kind of scrappy, primitive (i.e. bad) sewing.
5. I’ll be back at it as soon as possible, if not tonight – it’s my turn to make dinner – then tomorrow.

Gosh, my business partner is a master at art quilting and might disown me when she sees this post. Nah…

Fabric Paper Journal Covers

Fabric Paper Journal Cover Embellished with Beads

Fabric paper sewn/machine quilted onto black canvas-Front View

Lorri Flint here – I love making Fabric Paper!! Many of my Art Quilts take 50 to 100+ hours to complete and these days, I’m just not into spending that much time on one piece.  That’s why I love making Fabric Paper – Beryl Taylor  or Kelli Perkins  style!  It’s a fun, very forgiving, slightly messy process where I can just play and have incredibly rich results in a few hours.   Instant gratification is good for the creative soul.

I was lucky enough to take a class from Kelli to learn her style and I’m super lucky that Beryl Taylor is coming to the May 2011 Art Camp for Women. If you can’t make it to May Camp, then come play with Kelli in October 2011.  (We’re the only retreat she’s teaching at in 2011, so don’t pass up this opportunity!) I’ve been exploring what I can do with these juicy fabric paper sheets and here’s what I’ve come up with so far!

Journal Covers galore with all different kinds of closures!!

Close up of Fabric Paper Journal Cover

Close up of beaded embellishments and the clasp - a black velvet button wound with yarn

Fabric Paper Journal Cover Ovals

Front and Back view of the journal cover


Fabric Paper Journal Cover Guitars

Fabric paper journal cover - embellished with drawing and paint and an ink jet transparency transfer

Fabric Paper Journal Cover Guitars Full View

Front and back view

Fabric Paper Journal Cover close up

Close up of the image transfer with a layer of glaze medium and acrylic paint


The Art at Art Camp for Women – Part 1

New and Improved! Lodgings Upgraded for 2011 Season

The Main Living Room

The Living Room

The Common Areas

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and in this case they are right! Once we are moved in – the common spaces are much more cozy, but this is a sample of the living spaces we will be occupying at Art Camp for Women.

Dining Room

Dining Room

There is plenty of room for everyone to relax and enjoy themselves in great comfort.

Living Room to Dining Area

Living Room to Dining Area

A Typical Bedroom

Typical bedroom

Typical bedroom

Not every room is exactly the same, but this is a good representative room. Each bedroom in our new lodge will have a full bathroom included and lots of closet space.

Why Come to Art Camp for Women – Video Part 2