Handmade Fused Glass Pendants – New Etsy Shop!

I mentioned in my last post that I’m going to start selling my jewelry at craft shows, and today is my first one! I’m really excited to be starting this adventure at the TCNJ Community Fest in Ewing NJ! My brother, Don Morrison, and I will be there selling handmade glass jewelry including pendants, earrings, and bracelets.

I’m also hoping to sell hand dyed textiles, scarves in particular, but I don’t have them ready for this show. If you happen to be in the area, you should stop by. There are supposed to be quite a few vendors there! My brother and I will also be attending the Hometown Harvest Fair in Hightstown, NJ on October 12 and other craft fairs throughout the fall.

If you can’t make it out to a craft fair, I’ve started listing some of my pendants in my Etsy shop. It’s the creative side of The Vegan Kat…The Creative Kat! I have many more pendants than I’m able to list on Etsy, so if you like what you see, but are looking for a certain color or design, let me know. I can post other pendants or earrings based on what you’re interested in.

All of these pendants are handmade fused glass. They’re created by cutting out shapes in glass, choosing color combinations, arranging a design, and building up multiple layers of glass. Then the glass gets fused in a kiln and becomes a pendant!

Photo By: Don Morrison

Photo By: Don Morrison

I love playing with color and design, so it’s a really fun way to make little pieces of art to share with people! I hope you can stop by a craft fair sometime, or that you’ll check out my Etsy page and share if you like the pendants!

Experiments with Color and Shibori

I’ve been posting about hand dyed fabrics quite a bit recently. Hopefully you are all enjoying that in addition to the recipes. I’m enjoying sharing my food and crafting adventures with you! Hand dyeing is my newest crafting love. It’s just so fun creating your own fabric, and I love the surprise of seeing how it turns out!

I just finished my latest batch which was mostly an experiment with mixing color. I recently ordered some charcoal gray, a bright fire red, and a navy blue. The pure dyes (and some of the mixed ones) tend to be fairly bright, so I wanted to trying toning them down a bit. I accomplished this by mixing pure colors together and also mixing them with charcoal gray.

Cool Tones

We’ll start with the cooler tones. In the photo above, the fabric all the way to the left is charcoal gray by itself. The second from the left is an olive green, which was a mix of blue, yellow, and tiny bit of red. Oddly enough, when I was rinsing this one out the water ran a deep purple. The fabric must have absorbed most of the yellow and left more blue and red behind. The third from the left I honestly can’t remember what I mixed together to create that color, but I bet it was a mix of yellow, blue, and charcoal gray (I need to keep better notes!) The one all the way to the right is a chartreuse green created by mixing yellow with a tiny bit of turquoise.

Warm Tones

And now on to the warmer tones. The fabric all the way to the left is fire red by itself. It turned out very bright, but a truer red than the fuschia red I used last time. The second from the left is fire red with charcoal gray. The third from the left is orange with a little yellow and charcoal gray. The one all the way to the right is mostly yellow with a little orange and a little charcoal gray. One thing that I noticed about a lot of the fabrics was that they have little speckles of other colors. I haven’t had this happen with other batches. This could be caused by the dye not being mixed up enough, or it’s possible that a little bit of the red dye got into some of the other dye baths. It’s not a bad effect necessarily and I’m sure it could be the perfect texture for certain things, but it’s not what I intended.

Shibori Circles

Last, but not least, I also experimented with shibori. Shibori refers to a variety of Japanese techniques including folding, wrapping, binding, stitching, and other ways of manipulating fabric to create patterns when dyeing.

Stitched Circles

I specifically tried the technique of stitching fabric using a running stitch and then cinching it up tightly. I just free form stitched circles following staggered spacing in rows. I cinched up each circle and tied off the thread before dyeing the fabric in navy blue. The photo above shows what it looked like after I stitched the circles. The photo below shows what it looked like after cinching the circles.

Cinched Circles

I’m really happy with the results of the concentric circle fabric! This was somewhat time consuming and a little challenging (of course that means I loved it!) The toughest part was cutting the stitches out after the fabric was dyed and dried. They’re cinched so tight it’s a challenge to snip the threads without cutting the fabric by accident.

Shibori Circles

The other didn’t turn out quite as well. I think I made the stitched design too intricate. You can see that the patterning did not show up in the center medallion except for the zig zag circle. The other mistake I made was using the wrong thread. I tried using cotton quilting thread, which is not strong enough to be cinched up without snapping frequently. Once I switched to a thick thread for sewing denim it went a lot smoother.

Shibori Zigzag

The circles around the outside were created by bunching up a little bit of fabric and wrapping thread tightly around it. I like the way these turned out. I will definitely be trying out more stitched shibori, and I look forward to using these fabrics to make quilts, pillows, and lots of other crafty things!

The Free Motion Quilting Project – Practice Place Mats

Here’s a break from the food posts for a craft post! This week, I made a goal for myself to work on improving my free motion quilting skills. It’s of course an on-going process, but one that I finally decided to tackle. I love hand piecing and hand quilting, but it’s led me to avoid learning free motion quilting for a while now. As much as I love quilting by hand, it’s a slow process. I really want to improve my FMQ skills so that I can finish up some projects quicker. It also just opens up a whole new world of design possibilities! After going to the Quilt Fest of NJ with my mom last week, I was really inspired by all the amazing free motion quilting. I hope I can be that good someday, but it will take a lot of practice!

A huge resource in this endeavor has been The Free Motion Quilting Project. The creator of this project, Leah Day, has posted hundreds of different free motion quilting designs. You can sort them in various ways, including by difficulty level. I’ve been tackling some of the beginner ones. My stitches are definitely a bit wobbly, but you have to start somewhere! While my FMQ still needs a lot of work, I can already see that I’m starting to improve and gain more control over my stitches.

To practice, I’ve been making place mats. I bought a couple of panel fabrics to use as centers. I pretty much never use panels, but I thought quilting around the images would be good practice. I’m using up bits of fat quarters that I won’t really use in other projects. These aren’t my favorite fabrics, but that also makes it much easier to practice on them. I’m not hung up on making mistakes or messing up the fabric or quilting, since I don’t really have a strong attachment to these.

The guild that I attend has a community service project through Meals on Wheels. They deliver place mats to their clients around the holidays to brighten their day. So not only am I getting tons of practice in, but these will go to a good cause as well, and I’m using up some of my fabric stash. It’s a win, win all around!

Designing with Photos

I’ve been focusing on a lot of my own creative work and hobbies recently, and it’s been fun to see how some of these hobbies may be able to merge. For a long time now, I’ve wanted to find a way to combine my photography with creating quilts, not necessarily by printing the photos on fabric, but using the photos as design inspiration.

As I was looking through some old photos I took a few years back, I remembered an art project that I did in college. It was a pretty simple project, but I enjoyed it. Basically, we had to draw a design on a four inch square of paper. It could be any design, but it had to have elements that extended all the way out to the edge of the paper. We made the lines heavy with Sharpies and then photocopied the design. We filled a poster board with the photocopies side by side to see how the design played out.

This time, I decided to try this basic idea with photos rather than drawings. Some of my old photos had lines that ran to the edges of the photo, so I played with them in photoshop. I used just four copies of the photo and rotated and flipped the images. Most of them were in color to start with, but I found that making them black and white helped them look more like a design than a photo. I think the results are pretty interesting. I’m not sure yet how these can translate to quilting, but if I lined some of these up, they would look like intricate quilt blocks. There’s more playing and creating to come, as I figure out how to translate these in fabric!