Mixed and Stitched: A Giveaway

Time for a giveaway! This time it is Jen Osborn’s wonderful book, Mixed and Stitched: Fabric Inspiration and How-to’s for the Mixed Media Artist.

mixed___stitched1You have to love a book that starts with a whole chapter on forgetting the rules. It starts with tips for the beginner on setting up your space, fabric, stove-top dying, and using bleach to remove color (but not all the way) from fabric.

Information on stitching is covered in the next section–from sewing machine to sketching with stitches to embroidery and faux felting.

If you aren’t excited by now, consider the projects done by painting on fabric–an inspiration board, a sketchbook, bunting, trinket box, and jelly picnic blanket. There are a lot more projects, too.

It’s published by North Light (who is the publisher of two of my books, too), so

"Out and About Purse"  © Jen Osborn

“Out and About Purse” © Jen Osborn

there are plenty of how-to photographs, tips, templates and an inspiration gallery.

Whether you love machine stitching or hand stitching, embroidery or just love fabric, this is a wonderful book to keep you busy and inspired.

Leave a comment if you want to win the book. I’ll choose a winner and announce it on Saturday, July 5th. Check in then to see if you’ve won!

Note: I purchased the book and an giving it away to make someone happy.

-Quinn McDonald can’t sew, but loves playing with fabric.


Stitch Ripping Your Plans

A stitch ripper is a hand device that people who sew use. People who are learning to sew use it a lot. There are several different styles, but the idea is the same–you use it to cut the threads in a line of sewing that need to be taken out. They are also called seam rippers.

After ripping out the stitches from the front, I learned that if you flip the project over and pull out the bobbin stitching, you do a lot less damage to the fabric and make the sewing thread come out in longer pieces, making opening a mistake faster.

And then, because I wonder about odd things, I wondered if it wouldn’t be a great idea to have a plan ripper. Don’t like the way a project at work is turning out? Flip over your whole team and pull the thread that holds together poor thinking and wrong conclusions.

Don’t like the plot line in your story? Flip it over and find out what emotional stitching got tangled up in the logic thread and pull it out.

Unhappy with the direction your relationship is heading? Look at the other side carefully and see if the ideas, goals, dreams you both share are lined up right, There might be a wrinkle in the relationship that sounds similar to, “I’d really love that person if only s/he would change for me.” Time for the seam ripper.

I hate making mistakes, and I hate using the seam ripper, because undoing work isn’t fun and the stitch ripper requires some skill in itself–you can’t be too fast or vicious with it. But knowing that no sewing is final holds out hope for a better seam.

Fat Journal: Solving The Problem

When you glue ephemera into your journal, add gatefolds, flyers, photos and found objects, the journal begins to expand. A little expansion is fine, but when you get a lot of expansion before you are halfway through the journal, you may be creating a problem.

Vertical journal view of already-stuffed journal.

Many journals aren’t made for stuffing, and the stitching that holds the pages in can give way, leaving you with separate folios (sets of pages) and an empty cover.

Yesterday, when I added a gatefold, I realized that the journal was going to be too stuffed before long. There are several ways of solving the problem. I’m going to show you two of them.

The first way is to compensate for the fat pages by removing pages entirely. You will want to remove one sheet (two pages or four sides) to keep the folios in place. Page through the book (it can be any location) until you find two pages (four sides) that are one sheet. You will want to remove the entire folded sheet. If the stitching is sturdy, simply pull the inner corner of the page out and away from the gutter (spine). Do not lift, that just puts strain on the stitching. You can also open the book flat, use a craft knife to slit along the fold. Stop before you come to the stitching. You won’t want to cut into the stitching. Most stitched books have three stitches. Remove the pages from all of them. You can save the pages for another project or discard them. I love the paper, so I keep it for another project.

Page being removed from journal.

That’s all there is to it–page removed, more space for the book to breathe.

The other method of journal-girth reduction is to cut out two pages, leaving a stub. I find this aesthetically unpleasing, so I add a thin page between the two stubs, creating a page, yes, but a thinner one that the combined two I remove.

When I was working on the blue/green/purple page insert for yesterday’s post, I used a paper towel to catch ink over spray and mop up. I don’t throw out those paper towels as they are often colorful.

Yesterday’s towel looked nicely colored (the color continues to soak and spread till the towel dries) so I decided to make it the additional page. Paper towels are tougher than you might think.

Paper towel colored with over spray from ink experiment.

Still, I wanted something more than a paper towel. Some tissue paper applied in chine collé style. I tore white tissue paper into pieces, pounced glue on with a bookbinder’s glue brush, and applied the tissue, continuing brush use to put down an even layer.

I glued just one side. The other side remained the colorful paper towel. The entire piece is fragile when glued, so allow to air dry on a non-stick surface like freezer paper or parchment.

Once the tissue was glued and dry, I ironed the tissue and paper towel to get a nice flat surface. This paper towel was 2-ply, and the plies are held together only by the decorative patterns. To keep them together, I used my new sewing machine and a decorative stitch. This is a bit tricky, as a satin stitch can tear the towel. I also learned how to pull out a mess of bobbin thread out of the machine.

To attach this thin page, again, choose a single folded page that makes 2 pages (stitched in the center) or four sides.

Put a cutting mat under the second page. I used a tough but thin piece of plastic cutting board for kitchen use.

Using a craft knife and ruler, cut away the 2 pages about 1/2-3/4 inch from the gutter (spine) of the book, leaving two stubs.

Position the insert page between the two stubs. When it’s just where it needs to be, I  lifted the edge of the paper towel and put down a bead of glue, and spread it down with my fingers. Once the paper towel was glued to the bottom stub, I glued down the top stub.

Using a Sakura gel pen, I drew a sewing machine design on the stub and glued a colorful image on the page. The prose poem is by Wade Davis. It says:
“The world into which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit.”

Because I put the thin page between two stubs from the same piece of paper, the page is easy to turn and much thinner than the original two pages.

Have fun with your journal!

Quinn McDonald is a raw art journaler and certified creativity coaches who helps clients work deeply and explore their life’s journey.