May 2018 Meeting Recap and Announcements

June 6, 2018

Texture: Three Members Demonstrate Techniques

At our May 2018 meeting, three members shared some of their favorite techniques for creating texture in quilting and other sewing projects. Holly Harper did a terrific job of organizing everything!

Adamandia Kapsalis: Couching

Adamandia has a degree in fine art and photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Just one of the techniques Adamandia uses in her fiber art, couching is a deceivingly simple embroidery method. Couching is the process of taking thread and stitching over it, covering it up in varying degrees.

She mentioned this blog post from Summers of India, which has a bunch of couching stitches to learn.

Adamandia’s mom is a weaver so she has a lot of warp leftover, which Adamandia uses in her work. She enjoys using materials that would otherwise be thrown away, so she often starts with materials first, and then designs a project around them, using chunky yarns, embroidery floss, crochet thread, and more.

She says cursive letters lend themselves to couching; curves are easy, so script can look great. She sometimes pins down her base thread, or draws a design with a chalk pencil before stitching. Sometimes she just goes with the flow. 

Adamandia gets lots of ideas from Pinterest, and often makes little things and saves them for use later, sometimes to decorate an existing object or as part of a larger fiber art piece.

Bill Keller: Reverse Appliqué 

Bill was a mechanical engineer and retired from that to do blacksmithing, sewing, and many other crafts. He based his reverse appliqué session on techniques he picked up from Natalie Chanin, who uses them in her Alabama Chanin projects.

Bill created a handout about his technique, with helpful links. You can download it here.

He says there a millions ways you can go with the technique; he gets ideas from Pinterest and from Chanin’s website. He makes his own stencils to paint the design on the top layer of fabric for his projects, and offered to loan his stencils to anyone who wishes to give it a try.

Bill advises pre-washing all of your fabric, and when deciding what materials to order, he suggests Natalie Chanin’s color chart is a great guide for choosing fabrics, because colors can be deceiving on computer screens. Bill also advises using polyester thread from Guterman, and he uses their color chart as well; he also uses Coats “bold hand quilting” thread and Superior Thread “so sassy” in 12 wt.

Bill says one of the things he likes about hand stitching is that he can bring it with him anywhere.

Finally, he mentioned that he works a lot in the evening, but that he cuts fabric in the morning, in the strongest light, to avoid mistakes. He likes Gingerman scissors with a blunted tip.

Donna Moscinski: Fabric Manipulation

A retired school teacher, Donna grew up as a quilter, but CMQG is her first and only guild. In doing fabric manipulation, Donna likes to play with negative space, alternative grids, and unique textures.

She demonstrated a few techniques she likes. The first, tiny pleats, is accomplished by measuring lines only 3/4″ apart on a piece of fabric. Press them, then sew 1/4″ in from the seam and move on to the next, sewing them in alternate directions to minimize fabric stretching or warping. With time, you’ll create a piece of fabric with lots of tight pleating. You can then run that pleated fabric through a machine to stitch down patterns, creating more variety.
Another technique Donna demonstrated used Texture Magic from ByAnnie. (Pellon offers a competing product at a lower price.) You stitch it on to your fabric using whatever pattern you choose, then use a steam iron on the back, which creates a shrunken texture. There are many possible outcomes, depending on the pattern you stitched, and the weight of fabric you used.

Finally, Donna said that if you want to achieve “cheap-ass fabric textures,” you can skip the fancy product and get creative. She found a metal baking rack with a tight weave, wet some fabric with water, laid it on top of the baking rack, and pushed parts of it through the weave with a chopstick. She let it dry thoroughly before removing it, then ironed fusible to it. 
Donna ended by reminding us that like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, the answers are within us… but also that a simple Google search of “fabric manipulation” often yields many ideas and practical tips.


Amy Struckmeyer collected all of our mini quilts for the #A2CMQG mini swap and recipients will get their creations at the June and July meetings. Yay!

Our June meeting is our annual summer sew-in, where we return again to the Arlington Heights Public Library at 500 N. Dunton Avenue in Arlington Heights on Sunday, June 17th, from 12 to 6pm.

Sign-ups are still open for the Lynn Carson Harris workshop in July; head here for details and a registration link

In August, we celebrate summer with a big potluck. More details to come.

Member Carole Wool is collecting unwanted/orphan blocks for a hilarious prank project. Send any blocks you have ASAP to her at: 1122 Crest Lane, Western Springs, IL 60558. 
Heather Kinion is hosting a group sew-in at her house the first Tuesday in June. She will post details at our forum.

We continue to have charity projects in the works; we’ll have more announcements on that coming soon.

We’re always looking for news to include in The Full Bobbin, our guild newsletter. Please email Jenni, our social media and communications chair, if you have feedback or contributions.

And as always, the board of CMQG welcomes your feedback, ideas, and contributions. If you have anything to share, don’t be shy – send us an email (or come talk to us at the next meeting). 

All meetings are 2-5 pm on the third Sunday of the month, unless otherwise noted.

This month’s meeting is on Sunday, June 17, 2018, at the 

A list of our meetings can be found here.

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Photo: Triangles quilt by Erika Mulvenna