Suellene's Delight!

Lynn Schoeffler © 2007

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Meeting Suellene Peterson last year during my trip to northern California really was a delight! What fun it is to meet someone that speaks the same language: Fabric! Beads! Threads and Trims! Get Suellene’s instructions below for a cute crazy quilted “Whimsey”.

Suellene’s business is called Suellene’s Delight because she truly is delighted to do needle-art activities and to work with other people that also love needlework. Although she is a semi-retired C.P.A, Suellene also studied art at SJSU with a major in illustration and minor in fine art. Her move into fiber art occurred seven years ago when she discovered the world of silk ribbon embroidery, embellishment and fabric painting. Her work spans from heirloom Victorian concepts to contemporary ideas and processes. She began teaching classes five years ago and now offers embellishment classes that combine elements of SRE, thread painting, bead embroidery, trim and fabric manipulation, experimental fiber arts, fabric painting, lace dying and lace collage. Anyone in northern California , or traveling there can see Suellene’s work at the Prairie Queen in San Jose, Judy's in Scott's Valley, Natural Expressions in Los Gatos or Madonna Needleworks in Morgan Hills .


Suellene's CQ Whimsey:

Gather up all of those tiny pieces of brocade, silks, and gold shot cotton prints that you cannot bear to throw away. You most likely have a few inches of yummy narrow trims and ribbons that are just too nice to toss. Maybe you also have a few small beads, buttons or other tiny items to add glitter and gloss? Have you also collected metallic threads and are itching to use them? Love to do Crazy Quilting (CQ)? If you can answer yes to these questions, then here is a good way of using what you have saved.

Use these tiny treasures to make a 3 sided CQ Whimsey. The body of the Whimsey measures 4” long, 3” wide, with top loop hanger 4 ½” and bottom tassel 3 ½ “in length. Besides the group of supplies mentioned above you will also need to cut 3 sides out of muslin for the Whimsey's foundation. You will need enough rattail to make the joints for the 3 sides, top hanger, bottom tassel and two decorative knots. Also, you will need the following types of notions: pillow stuffing, beading threads, decorative sewing threads for couching (embroidery or otherwise), fabric glue or fusible product for adhering patches to foundation pieces.

Before we begin to embellish, we need to create the muslin foundation pieces. So fold your muslin in half and mark 3” along the fold line and go in 1 ½” and mark 2” from the center point on the fold line. Using a curved type of ruler (dressmaker's or architect's) draw a gentle curve from the 1 ½” mark on the each point from the fold line to the 2 “ vertical mark in the center mark below the fold. Cut this piece and use it for a pattern for the other two pieces.

From your collection of treasured fabrics, select the color way that you want to feature. Then from your trims and ribbons, beads and any other stuff pick the small pieces that will work with your Whimsey's color way. On each foundation piece, audition your fabrics so that they will fit together in a way that delights your sense of design. Maybe 6-8 or more tiny pieces will work for you. If your pieces do not nicely fit, cut them so that they will fit. After the fabric has been selected, use your selected product to glue or fuse the fabrics to the foundation with raw sides touching. Cover all the raw edges with narrow trim or ribbon and use the same technique to adhere them to the fabric. When the sides are ready to work (glue may need to cure overnight), you will be ready to embellish them with your beads and couched metallic threads.

To finish, sew the three sides together and stuff (you know how to leave the opening and then close it). Using the rattail, cover each side with two pieces of twisted cord and fasten it to the point at each end. Leave enough left over on each end to make your decorative hanger, tassel and knots (the knots cover the end joints). From one end to the other, the sample Whimsey measures 11”, but the final length may vary depending on your design choices. You may want at least 3 yards or more of rattail depending on how full your tassel needs to be for your satisfaction. To add a wee bit more elegance to your tassel, add beads to the knots. An interesting variation could be to add a beaded tassel to the bottom instead of or in addition to the rattail. Experiment, play and create your own version.

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