Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Texture Magic Thoughts


It's been too long since I've made time to blog. I've been so busy writing new patterns, making samples, and going to shows that blogging has had to take a back seat. I will try to do better in 2010.

Last week we began our 2010 show schedule with a great show at Road to California. After almost a year of playing with Texture Magic, it's become such a part of my life that I'm always a bit surprised to find someone who hasn't heard of it. However, I have to say, a good percentage of the folks stopping by the booth at Road had never seen or heard of Texture Magic.

It was fun to watch them stroll by the booth, catch our Celebrate quilt in the corner of their eye, do a double-take and come back to the booth to take a closer look and ask, "How did you do that?"

Texture Magic is a fabric that shrinks when exposed to hot steam. It shrinks about 20% in every direction, so the secret to producing texture is to sew the Texture Magic to a piece of fabric so that when the Texture Magic shrinks, the fabric goes along for the ride.

The amount of texture that you get when using Texture Magic depends on how much stitching you do. So, if you stitch in an all-over meander with lines about 1/2" apart, you will get more texture than if you stitch in a grid with lines 1" apart.

I usually recommend stitching no closer than 1/2" or further apart than 1-1/2", but what you choose to do is certainly up to you. Play with some different fabrics and stitches and see what you like.

The Little Charmers blankie and block are a great project for experimenting with Texture Magic. Designed to be made with a charm pack, the project can be quickly made with a pack of precut 5" squares. (The pattern does include instructions for cutting pieces if you prefer to use fabrics from your stash.)

Pick the squares that you want to texturize for the block and blankie. Then have fun trying a different stitch on each square as you sew the fabric to the Texture Magic. The best part? When you're done experimenting and playing, you've got a great, easy little project to assemble and a cute gift for a baby shower!

Another fun idea for a baby or toddler gift are the Baby Bibs that are accented with Texture Magic.

(Click on the link above to see more detailed images of each bib.)

Heather Purcell (aka Mother Superior) came up with the great idea of using decorative stitches to sew the Texture Magic to the fabric. That's what she did on my On the Town handbag and on the Little Miss Sunshine dress.

On the Serenity Shoulder Bag, I just followed the design printed on the fabric. Before stitching, I added a layer of wool batting between the fabric and Texture Magic. This makes the texture even more predominate.

One important note: It is very important to just use hot steam to shrink the Texture Magic -- not a hot iron. So, if you are using a steamer that doesn't get hot on the bottom, you can set it right down on the Texture Magic to make it shrink.

If you are using an iron with a hot sole plate, you either want to hold the iron a bit above the Texture Magic so that the hot sole plate doesn't touch the fabric or you want to steam from the fabric side.

You do not want the hot sole plate to touch the Texture Magic. It won't melt it or ruin it or make it stick to your iron, but it makes it stiff -- kind of "plasticy" feeling. It will stay very soft and supple if you just use steam.

That's why we are comfortable using Texture Magic to texturize fabric clothes and quilts that even a baby will enjoy. Wouldn't a little girl in your life love this cute little Tickled Pink ensemble?

If you are interested in taking a hands-on class to play with Texture Magic, please check back soon for my 2010 class schedule. I taught the Texture Magic Totes class at Road to California and am pleased to say that every person in the 3-hour class went home with a finished tote bag!

I'm hoping to get the new class/show schedule on the website soon. In the meantime, here is a quick list of upcoming Texture Magic classes:

February 6 - Serenity Shoulder Bag class - Fabric Arts Studio Retreat, Moab, Utah
February 7 - Textured Totes & Accessories class - Fabric Arts Studio Retreat, Moab, Utah
February 19 - Texture Magic class - Dixie Quilt Guild Retreat, Zion Park Inn, Springdale, Utah
February 27 - Texture Magic Totes Class - Sew Expo, Puyallup, Washington
March 29 - Texture Magic! class - Quilted Works, St. George, Utah
August 12 - 14 - Serenity Shoulder Bag, Architexture Table Runner, and Baby Bibs classes at Pacific West Quilt Show in Olympia, Washington

Please contact me for more info about any of these events. Thanks!

Happy stitching,