Kathleen's Blog
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 10:28

Now that I am working on Row B of the Dear Jane Saga...has it crossed your mind that I may have very well LOST my mind?

You know...how do you remember this crap, Kathleen?

No...I am NOT telepathic...

Although...I have been known to be extremely keen into reading someone's body language...including across the room.

It's really kinda of creepy...it sometimes scares my children!

But...it's how I roll!

Here is one of the latest Dear Jane Block Printouts from my Dear Jane Software, I had just blogged about.  If you click on the picture it will enlarge so you can see my messy strategically placed notes all around the actual block image.

What is that all about, you ask?

Well, believe it or not...I like to document EVERY thing about anything that is done in my studio...crazy, huh?  Let me explain...

These notes are the windows to success for me...(hey, I think I just became a poet with that line)...they help me as I move forward with this particular project, simply because Dear Jane...A Rebel in RED is a rule breaker!

I am making my Dear Jane using my Modern Piecing Methods, that I kind of make up as I go along from block to block...utilizing my best skills as a quilter, seamstress and applique artist.  Most of the time this is a highly successful way of piecing for me...however, somedays it ends up in the trash! But...let's face it...you gotta take the good with the bad!

That's why I take notes...I never know where the next block will take me on my Dear Jane Journey...I don't want to know, it's funner that way!

I know..."funner" is NOT a word, but I'm going to use it anyway! Wink

With these pages of Dear Jane Saga Notes, I have something to always reference back to...for instance...if I am making a block that has the same prep of the background fabric as a previous one...I have the "recipe" written down to take a peak at and repeat it without reinventing the wheel a second time.  LOL!

Here's a list of the kind of "things" I write on my printouts...

-At the top of the page...I write down whether or not the block is considered BEGINNER, INTERMEDIATE or ADVANCED...according to the Dear Jane Software.

-I include all the fabric cuts I make to each fabric (red and white) for the pieces needed in the block...including how I cut the background fabric and if I had to "piece" that background fabric first.

-I document which piecing method I used or if I used more than one...I include what methods were used in what sections.

-if I Machine Appliqued any of the pieces I included the name of the piece and what I set my machine at...mostly so I could shut the machine off midstream and then go back to it and reset it to the EXACT applique stitch set up.  This happens when I receive those all so important phone calls from the Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims Quilt Show...yeah, right...in my dreams!  Lol!

-I also include a little side note (if I Machine Appliqued it) where I started and stopped the stitching to ensure a continuous sew...with no stopping or starting in different areas...I LOVE this!

-If there is alot of directional pressing of seams in the block...I will indicate which direction I press them in with arrows...for ease of construction and whatever is most pleasing to the block itself and what will help it lay completely FLAT!

-Then I add the date I made it and how many pieces were in the block (using my Modern Piecing Method).

I figure at this rate...I am ALL set if I ever decide to make another Dear Jane Quilt somewhere down the line in another colorway...you know...just to make it interesting!


Monday, 24 March 2014 12:04

Fresh Prospective to the day and I am making progress with my Dear Jane...A Rebel in Red!  Call me a Janiac...it is a sickness, once you get started and you find your "nitch".

Today's block is B-8 called Water Lily and is made up with a total of 9 pieces, and just like yesterdays block...she is completely machine appliqued.

You guessed it...just because "I can" and I LOVE to Machine Applique the weirdest things...So, I've been told by a few hundred friends, family members and complete strangers walking down the street.

Ok...maybe the "strangers" part is a tad bit of an exaggeration...but the subject does comes up ALOT!  LOL!

I wasn't "lucky" enough to have the shapes I needed for these appliques in my sizzix die collection,  so I had to trace them from my Dear Jane Software Print out and then I used the same method from yesterday where I used my Rotary Cutter and Ruler to cut more precisely on those lines.

Who out there is interested in a Tutorial on that?  A little Modern Piecing with My Dear Jane Quilt!

PS...be sure to find the center from your background piece first before laying out the pieces...both corner to corner and top to bottom.  This makes placement of the appliques a sure thing!  Give it a try...you will love love love this method!

Easy Peasy...Lemon Squeezy!



Sunday, 23 March 2014 11:01

True to my word...I am moving forward with my Dear Jane Blocks...

Yesterday, I had a "happy" and updating conversation with a Quilting Student from Aiken, South Carolina...Luanne L.  and she conveyed to me such a positive thought process from my latest set back!  She loves the Dear Jane Saga...I do too!  So, without further ado, let's piece another fun block...

That conversation with Luanne brought a new perspective to what I had been doing with my Dear Jane Quilt...A Rebel in Red!  My Dear Jane is a Rebel in her own right...she simply cannot follow the rules...she's simply a Modern Day Piecer!

Continuing on with Block B-7 called World Series...I used my "Modern Piecing" method and broke all the rules!  Here's the skinny...

First...I cut my background red fabric at 6.5" square, unfinished.  I then printed out the block pattern from my Dear Jane Software...(yeah...she is one of my BEST purchases!).  Because I am also a Card Stamper and Scrap Book Maker...I own a bunch of the Sizzix Dies and I use them all the time with my Quilting and Applique Projects.  I love it when my hobbies come together on a single project...and play nice!  I happen to have the same oval shape from this block in my sizzix quilting dies...so it was easy peasy to just adhere the Heat and Bond Lite to the backside of my White Tone on Tone fabric and then run it through my Sizzix Machine with that Oval Die.  I cut out 4 of those.  The diamond shapes where simply traced...using the print out from my Dear Jane Software and then instead of cutting them out using my scissors, I laid it down on my cutting mat and used my ruler and rotary cutter to cut nice, clean and crisp sides to the diamonds...it a perfect solution to what might other wise produce "wonky" sides to the diamonds!

Preparing the block itself requires a simple method of not only finding the center of the Background Block, but also the corner to corner reference points.  First, fold your 6.5" square of fabric in half in one direction and press...reopen it and fold it in half in the other direction and press.  When you open it up you now see your square block is divided into 4 even sections.  Now, fold your square corner to corner and press...reopen it and fold it corner to corner in the opposite direction and press.  Now open it flat and you will have a perfectly pressed block with reference points to make placing your applique pieces in the exact position simple and completely accurate.  How great is that?

After I had all the shapes pressed directly onto the background square I turned it over and press it from the wrong side to ensure better adhesion.  I then safety pinned some mid weight tear away stabilizer to the back side and Machine appliqued all the pieces in place...in one continuous sew.  Remove your tear away and WALLAH...

Block B-7 World Series...Modern Pieced!

PS...this block has a total of 9 pieces in it and was completely Machine Appliqued!


Tuesday, 18 March 2014 10:46

Excuse my absence from my blog for the past few weeks as I contemplated on what to "do" next.

Just like this basket of leftover selvages, I am feeling a little "rough cut" and it seems that lately what I had devoted my life to (besides being a wife and a mother) for the past 30 years plus has gone on without notice...as if it had never happened.

Here's the nitty gritty...

I am one of eight children...believe me...it makes me who I am!

I know how to sew, quilt, and operate every sewing machine on the market.

I have designed and written dozens of quilt and machine applique patterns...and developed sewing techniques that aid in seamless and consistent project end results.

I have made and donated dozens of quilts for Cancer Patients, Pediatric Oncology, and numerous charitable functions for aid in fund raising...not including the hundreds of Random Acts of Kindness items I have made over the past 30 years.

I maintain a Full Website and Online Etsy Shop and Photograph my own Work...including the Photo Shop rendering there of.

As a Professional Quilt Instructor, I have taught hundreds of students...ages varying from 7 to 85.

The list goes on...

Still...it's as if it never happened...years of work, sweat and tears.

With the multiple closings of Quilt Shops and Guild cutbacks...my teaching schedule is almost non existent.

About 7 months ago it was as if someone turned the light off in my Online Etsy Shop (The Perfect Wallet).

Even though I have written quilt pattern after quilt pattern...no one is interested in them...unless of course I want to "make a copy" for them to share with their 200 closest friends.

I have written hundreds of blog posts for The Quilted Story Website...and not one person has felt compelled to "add a comment" or contact me in any way...in years...I thought my blog post entries might be of some interest to someone out there...perhaps not.

This is why I had to take a Mental Health Break and decide weather or not the hours I put in writing blog after blog and post picture after picture really matters in the whole scheme of things.  I needed a word or two of encouragement.

It seems absence from my world...almost invisible to the naked eye.

And then...my friend Paula C. called me...

She broke the ice by saying..."Could you please just call me BEFORE you take the studio and all of it's contents into your back yard and set them ablaze"?  Seriously...she says...I know you have some really cool "stuff"...I have seen the pictures and I would really like "first dibs"!

I laughed out loud...we laughed out loud together.

I hadn't done that in months...I have felt so discouraged.

Paula and I talked for over an hour...she listened to me like a sister would!  As we chatted I realized that just like when I was a young girl, learning to sew...I still needed that "approval" from those around me that what I did was "good"..."worthy", and "well accepted" in the sewing and quilting world.  With everything like my Teaching, Etsy Shop and Website changing so dramatically over the years...I had not realized that I was living in a world of non existence.  I'm NOT what I want to be and I have spent hours and hours working at it and hoping that it would just finally "click".

It may NEVER happen...

I'm OK with it.

People who know me, know that I am not a whiner...I'm a problem solver.  If you ever read any of my blogs you will quickly learn that I have an "upbeat" personality who simply enjoys taking lemons and making pitchers of lemonade with it!

So here's what I'm gonna do...

I can't imagine a world without sewing/quilting or machine applique...however, it's NOT a business...if you do everything for FREE.  So...The Quilted Story may very well be nothing more than a really ORGANIZED Hobby...some days, it is NOT even that!  I will likely continue to sew, quilt and create beautiful and useful items and blog about them on my website and Facebook page...if for no other reason than to document my life's quilted journey.  Perhaps I will publicize my line of tutorials (for FREE) on my website and start reducing my Studio Inventory by introducing a "Free Give Away" Friday, every once in a while!  If I do anything like this on my Website, I will announce them individually on my Facebook Page...so stay tuned!

The Perfect Wallet Etsy Shop is hanging on by a bare thread, no pun intended...and at this point I am contemplating closing it completely and donating the existing inventory to a well deserved non profit organization.  Unless I have a huge epiphany on how to get someone to turn the "SHOP OPEN" light back on and make it more successful...this is likely ever changing.

As far as my quilt patterns, book writings and unique quilting and sewing technique development goes...I'm gonna lock it in a trunk and bury it in the back of a closet and then pray one day someone will realize that Kathleen Bowen...simply "brings something unique to the quilting world" and would like to discuss a future there of...

Ok...now, I'm just dreaming!  Lol!

Hey...at least I haven't completely lost my sense of humor!

Thank You Paula C. for being my Friend...you may never know just what that little phone call did for me!

Quilt ON!



Thursday, 27 February 2014 16:21

If I had to choose a Favorite of all the Dear Jane Blocks that I have made so far...this would be the one...

I simply LOVE this block...

Block B-6 is called Wild Goose Chase...she has a whopping 43 pieces, and she was completely Paper Pieced

However...the Paper Piecing was NOT continuous, like in some of the simpler blocks.  Instead,  it was Paper Pieced in sections and then I sewed the pieced sections together.


I did break a few Paper Piecing Rules...you know...cuz I'm a Rebel.

Here's what I did...and it worked just GRAND...

I Paper Pieced all the different little sections, and then just "BEFORE" I sew the pieced sections together I VERY carefully removed ALL the paper from the backsides...insuring that I did NOT distort any of the seams in the process.  When I Paper Piece I always use a small stitch length so it will Perforate the paper and make it very easy to remove.

Most people who Paper Piece say you should leave ALL the paper on until everything is sewn together...

All the Paper on each section...

All the Paper on each completed Block...

All the Paper on all the rows of blocks that are sewn together...

I say...

NO...remove the paper as you go...the amount of distorting of the block that happens when you have all that Paper Bulk will be worse than any distorting you may have from removing the paper from each pieced section.

Be a REBEL...give it a try and see how you like it.

I assure you...

The Paper Piecing Police are NOT coming to your studio...they simply don't care!

It's OK...and remember...

"If you follow all the RULES...you miss all the FUN!



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