Friday, May 10, 2013

Book marks, tags, and framed keys ... or what I did last Friday and Saturday!

(Above:  Book marks made this past weekend.  Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)

Try as I might, I'm still behind in my blogging despite entries on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  I'm determined to catch up.  I just don't know when!  This post shows how I spent my studio time last Friday and Saturday ... making book marks.  Here's a step-by-step tutorial of the process that I repeated over 195 times!

(Above:  Various decorative threads and sock yarn ... rolling around on the floor with the ends through the braiding/cording foot of my Bernina.)

First, I scramble around in the large plastic containers in which I keep (in total disorder) random yarns and decorative threads.  My sister Wanda would be appalled.  She's a talented counted thread embroiderer with all her floss organized and listed on her computer kept inventory.  I, on the other hand, am a mess.  I love my mess and love selecting seven or eight threads/yarns/ribbon to shove through the # 21 braiding/cording foot of my Bernina.  This is exactly how I start my fiber vessels which I wrote about last week ... HERE.    

(Above:  Unstitched book marks waiting for fiber embellishments.  I included an ordinary writing pen just for size!)

Of course, I've already prepared about two hundred paper book marks.  These are just two decorative papers that I dry mounted together.  (Okay ... I own a frame shop.  A heavy watercolor paper works just as well ... and would be a great way to use less successful paintings for those who attempt such artwork.  There are other heavy weight papers available in many craft and art supply stores that would work too.)

I set the machine on a rather wide zigzag ... and the stitch length is fairly long as well.  I start in the middle of the book mark's end and zigzag in a curving manner up one side of the paper bookmark.  Don't stitch too close to the edges ... just a nice, gently meandering path. 

At the other end, I stop, raise the foot, flip the book mark to the opposite side, and position the lengths of decorative thread nicely on the other side. 

Stitch back down that side ... following the bobbin thread of zigzag stitches.

When you approach the end ...

... grab the decorative threads from both sides in your left hand ... stitch to the end .  Then, right at the book mark's bottom edge, hold the threads tight and prevent the dog feet from moving forward.  This forces the machine to zigzag over itself ... in place ... making the threads into a "tassel". 

Stop stitching.  Pull the book mark to the side.  Cut the threads/yarn/tassel ... leaving about three inches on the book mark and three or so inches through the #21 foot that will start the next book mark.  Repeat. 

For me, the motions of this stitching start a repetitive rhythm.  It doesn't take long before there are plenty of half-finished book marks beside my machine ... my 1008 Bernina. 

(Above:  My two Berninas ... both set up for making book marks.)

As much as I enjoy the recurring cycle of stitching these book marks, I can't seem to continue for more than an hour or two at the same task.  No problem!  I have two Berninas!  My 1630 is at the ready for the second step!

I set the Bernina 1630 to one of my favorite stitch patterns.  I start at the same place ... the bottom end ... and stitch up one side of the book mark ... stitching the pattern along the edge of the zigzagged yarns/threads.

At the opposite end, I perform the same movement .... stop, raise the foot, flip the book mark to the reverse, center the needle, lower the foot, and stitch back down the opposite side of the book mark.  I always start and end in the same basic place ... at the bottom edge, in the middle.  Thus, when I cut the sewing thread, the excess just joins the yarn/thread/tassel.

Of course, there is a slight problem with stitching through paper.  The underneath side isn't as "flat" and nice as the "top" side of the stitching.  A bone burnisher takes care of the issue ... smoothing the paper holes out!  Generally, I stitch the thread/yarn in the meandering path for about an hour ... then I transfer over to the other machine and stitch the decorative stitching for about an hour.  At the end of two days ...


...I've got nearly 200 book marks.  These are sold at the South Carolina Artisan Center in Walterboro and here at Mouse House.  The reason I decided to make them last weekend was because the SC Artisan Center called requesting more.  They'd sold out.  Seventy-five were mailed off on Monday.  The other 100 or so are now at Mouse House (first photo in this blog post).

(Above:  Strips of watercolor paper, painted ... waiting to be made into tagged keys like those hanging on the wall behind them.)

Another thing I was "out of" was paper tags for keys.  So, I took a break from the book marks and painted a large piece of heavy watercolor paper, tore it into strips, and used one to make the tags for the three ocean related keys below.   Steve had already made the frames using scrap moulding for the slivers of painted and stitched canvas I'd cut up earlier in the year.
(Above:  The Key to Fair Weather and A Safe Harbor; The Key to Smooth Seas and Tranquil Waters; and  The Key to Gentle Breezes and Calm Currents.)

Each tag is two sided ... but now, I'm ready to make more keys for my Wall of Keys.  It's an on-going project ... sort of like my book marks.  Make a hundred or so ... but you will always need more!

I am linking this blog post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber artworks.

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