Friday, March 30, 2012

Favorite things

I am a big fan of sweaters by Oleana.
This is a Norwegian company and guess what, they are based outside of Bergen Norway where I was just teaching.
Brett and Marti and I were lucky enough to be taken to the Oleana factory for a tour by one of my hostess, and even got to meet one of the owners. A lovely woman. She allowed me to take pictures of the factory and the workers.
Here are a few of those images.
I had such fun being there and even picked up a new sweater and hat for myself.
making sweaters in Oleana factory Bergen Norway
This is one of the machine that adds the trim to the finished sweaters. I don’t know if you can tell but it is knitting in the round to add the top and bottom details.
Piles of parts waiting to be assembled in Oleana factory
This cart was piled with sweater parts. I love it. I wanted to take all the different sweater parts and compile my own unique sweater.
I literally was in heaven seeing all these designs and the production of this product that I love so much.
Patchwork made from Oleana sweaters in Bergen NorwayIMG_1629IMG_1643
The picture on the left is in their lunch room. It is a quilt made from knitted sweater fabric. The Center picture is the store at the factory and the one on the right are current sweaters from their catalog.
This was on the wall, several of their catalog pages from past catalogs.
It was a happy happy excursion.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The eye is in the detail

I love looking at old embroidery and decorative arts.

Here are just a few of the images I took at different museums on our trip to Norway.

Viking Ship Oslo Norway
One of the two Viking ships at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo.
Wagon inside Viking ship
This wagon was also inside one of the ships. It is heavily carved and massive. Those wheels were about 36” or more across.

IMG_1536Folk Art Museum Oslo NorwayIMG_1543Folk Art Museum Oslo NorwayFolk Art Museum Oslo NorwayFolk Art Museum Oslo Norway

Some of the folk art paintings on trunks, baskets, doors and hutches in the Folk Art Museum.
What I noticed most about the paintings, was that so many of the motifs and designs are still being used in our quilting world today.

Irons in Oslo Folk art museumSewing basket Oslo NorwayFolk Art Museum Oslo Norway

Irons, sewing cabinet and embroidered head gear. The embroidery on this hat reminds me so much of Mexican embroidery.

Folk Art Museum Oslo NorwayIMG_1554IMG_1557IMG_1559
Houses at the Folk Art Museum in Oslo.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012



I love to look at barns, but some people really enjoy Lighthouses. I just came across this interesting site related ONLY to Lighthouses. You might enjoy taking a look.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Inspiration is where you find it

I just returned home from a wonderful and inspiring trip to Norway. I was so lucky to teach to the Oslo quilt group -Tåsen Quiltelag and then on to Bergen to teach at the NQA.
Brett and I had a fabulous time exploring the city of Oslo and meeting and making new friends.
We then traveled on to Bergen via train over the mountains to the top of the world and down again to the old and fascinating city of Bergen where I taught along with Marti Michelle for the Norwegian Quilters Association. Again making many new friends.
Here are a few of my pictures and video of two of my classes in Norwegian, you can translate all of it to be – LOVE THIS.
Sister Trees class in Oslo.
The harbor in Oslo.
One of the ladies from my class in Oslo, Kjersti had Brett and I over to her home for dinner. She had made this little quilt the day after class. Isn’t it wonderful!!  And dinner was great. There were six of us; Ingjerd and her husband Ole-Petter, Kjersti and her husband Ung and Brett and I. The men talked history and the woman talked quilts. Perfect.
My classroom in Bergen, making Farmland.
Some of the farmlands from class.
Two of the classes I taught in Norway

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dreams do come true.

We all have dreams. How do you make your dreams come true?
I keep this list of ABC’s posted next to my computer and try to read them every Monday morning before I start my work week.
It keeps me on track of the things I want to accomplish in my life.

Avoid negative sources, people, places, things and habits.
Believe in yourself
Consider things from every angle.
Don’t give up, and don’t give in.
Enjoy life today; yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come.
Family and friends are hidden treasures. Seek them and enjoy their riches.
Give more than you planned to give.
Hang on to your dreams
Ignore those who try to discourage you.
Just  do it.
Keep on trying,
Love yourself first and most
Make it happen
Never lie, cheat or steal. Always strike a fair deal.
Open your eyes, and see things as they really are.
Practice makes perfect
Quitters never win, and winners never quit.
Read, study and learn about everything important in your life.
Stop procrastinating.
Take control of your own destiny.
Understand yourself in order better understand others.
Visualize it.
Want it more than anything.
Xccelerate your efforts.
You are unique.
Zero in on your target and go for it!
It helps me focus for the week and keeps me going on the things I want to do, both in my life and in my work.
Have a great week.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Seaside a fused art quilt - Bergen Norway

I am visiting and teaching at the Norwegen Quilt Symposium in Bergen Norway. As a tribute to the town of Bergen I made this fused art quilt called -Sea Side.

Enjoy this video tutorial sharing with you how I made this art quilt.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I can smell the green

Spring is coming, I can smell it in the air.

March is the month of green for me, by the end of the month I can start planting peas and onions in my garden.

I will be eager to get out in the garden and clean it up, getting rid of all the dead winter junk I left behind in October.  I might even get some mulch put in place.

I read somewhere that if you put down damp newspapers under the mulch the weeds won’t come up through the paper. I am going to try that this year and hope for a weed free (almost) garden.


One of the flowers I love the most in my garden are the low growing and small beautiful blue Forget – Me – Knots. I made this little quilt several years ago and it was featured in Quilts and more.


I was inspired by those wonderful Forget-Me-Knot flowers that bloom for months in my ramshackle garden and somehow magically spread themselves all over the flower beds.

I love that about them.

I never know where they will crop up the next year. I also love the fact that they are BLUE.
  • The first thing I did to make this little quilt was to make a quick sketch of what I wanted the quilt to look like.
  • Next I fused up some turquoise fabrics to make the flowers from. I used my sketch to trace around the shape of the flower heads using an extra fine sharpie marker.
  • I then placed the marker drawing against the fused side of the fabric and pressed with a hot dry iron. This is basically a printing processes and the marker will transfer to the back of the fused side of the fabric.
  • I can then cut out the flower shape out, just inside or right on the marker line.

  • I cut out from fused green fabric a group of elongated leaf shapes, like the ones that grow with the Forget-Me-Knots. I cut these free form with a decorative deckle blade in my 45mm rotary cutter.
TIP: Remember to always turn your mat over to the back side when cutting with decorative blades.
  • I “auditioned” the leaves and flowers on different color background fabrics and finally settled on this yummy Pink Pulp fabric.
  • I arranged all the flowers and leaves on the background fabric and fused them in place.
  • Next I started “auditioning” fabrics for the border.

This rich blue fabric – The Blues - really caught my eye and become the border on this sweet and inviting little quilt.


Finally I had to quilt this sunny quilt. I choose to outline all the flowers by stitching - stitch in the ditch around each one then added little French knots to finish off the center of each bloom to act as stamen.

Free form feathers seemed to be the right thing to quilt in the border of this quilt, and stippling was the perfect compliment to the feathers. I quilted the feathers and did the outline stitching in 30wt rayon, and the stippling in YLI silk thread.

The last thing I did was add in a fused binding to finish this quilt. You can read through a tutorial of a fused binding by clicking the tab at the top of my blog, or review the video from a couple of days ago showing you step by step how I put on a fused binding.

I can’t wait for my Forget-Me-Knots to start blooming this year!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Label that thing!

I am a fanatic about putting labels and our names on our quilts.

I have a degree in Art History and one of the things I am most adamant about is documenting our work.

I want my great grand-kids to know what I made, when I made it, where I made it and how I made it.

I machine quilt my name into all of my work.

I put a label with my name, address, date and name of the quilt on all my work.

I sign all my quilts on the back in permanent black magic marker. I am a fanatic about documenting my pieces.

Enjoy this little video showing how I put a printed label on the back of my work. I have been doing this for over 15 years now. I use this method for all my quilts. If the ink in your printer is not permanent, you can pre-soak the fabric in Bubble Jet and then do the process.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bobbin stitching - Applying fusible web binding part 2

After applying the binding I like to top stitch the edge of my quilts. You don't really have to, but I like the way it looks.

Some times I just use a matching or a contrasting thread, almost always the 30 wt Madeira Rayon. I like the colors and how it sits on the surface of the work.

But sometimes I like to use heavier weight threads in the bobbin to get a more decorative look to the top stitching.

I have found that I can put all kinds of heavy thread in the bobbin and sew from the backside of the quilt and end up with a very unique and different finish to the top stitching.

In this video I am using the 4mm silk ribbon that I dye on the edge of Woodland Treasures.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Bury your threads

I find that burying my threads after machine quilting is the best way to keep the front of my quilts neat.

I recently had to remake one of my patterns - Woodland Treasures - and I thought you would like to see me do several of the steps in making this little quilt.

After making the top of the quilt I love to machine quilt my designs.

This tutorial shows you how I deal with all my machine quilting threads as am quilting.

I hope you are enjoying my video tutorials and are sharing them with all your quilting friends.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Applying the Fused Binding part 1

After I finished machine quilting the little quilt in the video below -"Woodland Treasures" I needed to put the fused binding around the squared up edges to finish it.

I have been putting fused bindings on my art quilts for over 15 years, starting with this quilt - Waiting for Spring.
I had so many left over fused oak leaves after I finished the quilt I decided to fuse them around the edge of the quilt as the binding.

As most of my quilts are art pieces and hang on the wall, it seemed like a good idea to me. I haven't looked back and have been doing it ever since.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial of applying a fused binding to "Woodland Treasures" and will share it with your quilting friends.

Stay tuned for part two, doing bobbin work on the edge of the binding.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Susan Cleveland and WonderFil Spagetti

Susan Cleveland is one of the happiest quilters I have ever meet. She exudes bubbly. Susan has shared with us some of her latest tips for using WonderFil Spagetti thread. I KNOW you will enjoy this.
One of the projects in my newest book, Precision & Panache, includes bright, hand-dyed fabric and stitching with 12wt cotton thread (WonderFil Spagetti  12wt cotton) by hand and by machine.

  • Hippie Daisies by Susan K Cleveland, 2010, 11”x20”; This piece was made with hand-dyed fabric and it gives a groovy vibe to the piece. This little quilt makes me smile.

  • Glowing applique... First, to keep the white flowers white with no background showing through, I used Pellon Décor-Bond rather than traditional fusible web. This product is a heavy non-woven interfacing and it masks color under the flowers. I then stitched machine applique with WonderFil Spagetti 12wt cotton thread to give a bold blanket stitch around appliques. For a glow, I quilted around the daisies by machine also with WonderFil Spagetti 12wt cotton thread but in another color. Trippy, huh?

  • The white background piece is linen gauze. I starched it to keep its shape, frayed the edges and pinned it to the hand-dyed background before appliqueing daisies. Since I couldn’t think of how to quilt the linen section, I sprinkled square sequins throughout stitching through all layers. It seems just right.

  • I love hand quilting and especially with heavy thread. This technique was a new idea for me! With 2 strands of WonderFil Spagetti 12wt cotton thread and a 7 or 8 between needle, I hand quilted with large stitches and intermittently inserted French knots into the lines of quilting! fyi ... there is no message.

  • Life is too short for plain bindings. Large white ric rac seemed like the logical choice for me.

Quilt on!
Susan K Cleveland

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