Fireworks in Flight
Do you remember those dark velvet nights of summer when you were a child, the anticipation of Independence Day fireworks show? How about New Year’s Eve, Guy Fawke’s Day, Bastille Day, Chinese New Year? Do you remember those grand finale displays where they shoot up hundreds of pounds of explosives at the grand finale, while playing Sousa marches in time to the music? Remember?
Let’s make a recreation of one of those nights with a dark black sky, your favorite city in the distance, with all the metallic threads and crystals and embellishments you never get to use on your day-to-day quilt projects. You will get to play with machine embroidery, fancy threads, foil glue and foil glitter, Angelina fiber, metallic thread snippets, Mistyfuse and more. First, you’ll make some samples, then create your own Fireworks Finale Masterpiece in your own colors and design, then quilt, embellish with crystals and beads, add piping and bind that into your own miniature fireworks explosion. Come on, let’s make Skyrockets in Flight!
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Lesson One - Experimenting with Various Sorts of Fireworks
- Stitching with a regular sewing machine foot
- Stitching over Angelina and/or Tintzl fiber
- Stitching with a free motion foot to create distant fireworks
- Using a glue stick and glitter, fibers and threads
- Using foil glue and foil glitter
- Design Your Masterpiece
- Create your Masterpiece with all of the above techniques
- Quilting with free motion
- Binding and piping
- Adding additional bling with beads, crystals, and/or sequins
Supplies Required for Workshop
Approximately 2 yards of good quality black, tightly woven Kona cotton fabric for your Masterpiece. This will give you enough to make your Masterpiece and some pieces to do your samples on, and the chance to make your background just the right size to suit you. If you already have some black scraps for samples, you could get only get 1-3/4 yards, instead.
It is perfectly okay to use scrap fabrics for the sample fireworks we are going to be working on, but when you choose these background fabrics, keep these things in mind:
Do not use a background with a fuzzy surface, like moleskin or felt. When you used glitter on such fabric, it is extremely difficult to get the excess glitter off the piece, and it looks tacky. Even a lint brush doesn’t help very much.
Do not use a polyester slick fabric like satin. It cannot take a hot iron and will distort and melt if you are not extremely careful.
The water is only cut about 6” high, so you can get ¼ yard of this and turn it sideways. Be sure you get a fabric that will not melt when you iron things to it, but get a fabric with a satiny sheen to it.
Approximately 1-3/4 yards of back of quilt fabric, or construct a back with your sample pieces and additional black scrap fabric.
Interfacing Get 2 yards of a good, heavyweight iron-on interfacing so you can interface both your Masterpiece and your samples. I used a craft weight, which worked quite well.
Batting - Wool batting. Mathilda’s Own and Hobbs are both good brands, but any kind of wool batting is preferable to any other kind, for wallhangings.
Cotton, metallic, polyester, silk, and sliver hologram threads will all work in this piece. Before you buy thread, choose a color scheme so you only have to buy a few colors. If you already have thread, great. If you have to go out and buy thread, my recommendations are:
Glide polyester thread – It comes in a huge assortment of colors, does not stretch, is somewhat satiny, can be used in the top or the bottom, and does not leave lint in your bobbin case or break easily. It comes in 5,000 yard spools which can be usually bought for $8/spool.
Fine metallic threads – I like Yenmet, YLI, or Superior fine metallic threads because they are all coated with a smooth resin, which makes them go through the needle more easily.
Sliver thread – This is a fine, flat, tinsel-like thread that is oftentimes holographic, as well. Buy the Superior Thread brand (Glitter) to sew with. If you cannot find Tintzl or Agfire, buy some of the other brands of sliver thread so you can cut it up to be fiber embellishments.
Angelina and Tintzl Fibers
Decide on a color scheme and get hot fix Angelina, Tintzl and/or Agfire fibers to match. Angelina is fairly widely available at many quilt stores or online.
Angelina fibers are soft, beautiful fibers that come in metallic and non-metallic forms. Some Angelina fibers (the hot fix ones) fuse to each other to make a new fabric, but they do not fuse to a background.
Tintzl Fibers (by Jimmy Jems), also known as Agfire (from Embellishment Village), will blend and fuse with Angelina fibers. They are more reflective, less bendable, coarser, and more metallic than Angelina fibers.
If you cannot find Tintzl or Agfire, fibers, you can substitute sliver thread, which is a flat or the flat, tinsel-like, sometimes holographic thread. Superior Thread calls it Glitter, other companies call it various names.
Needles - I use Schmetz Toptstitching 100 needles for sewing with metallic thread. My favorite source is www.Sewingmachinesplus.com.
Gluestick – Any common gluestick will do. Get the big ones at an office supply store.
Mistyfuse – Get a package of black Mistyfuse for fusing glitter and/or fibers to the background. This is a very very fine fusible, which disappears into the black background without leaving visible residue. You can use it instead of gluestick, or along with it.
Lite Steam a Seam II – Finally back on the market, this comes in handy when you want to fuse your city to the background, or if you cannot find Mistyfuse.
Marker – A white chalk or quilting marker to draw out your designs. If you like, get an “Ultimate Marking Pencil” by Hancy Hancy Mfg. Co, which is cheap and available from www.FullLineStencil.com. It has the advantage of disappearing when you run a hot iron over it. Well, it almost disappears – there is a faint, very faint, shadow remaining, but you really cannot see it once you quilt it and add everything else to the piece. If not, a white chalk marker will do.
ExtravOrganza – This is a printable organza. You only need this if you want to print a city outline on it for your background. It is usually available in JoAnn fabric stores and many online quilt sources. It is very cool, extremely useful for printing photos on and making collages.
Fabrico gray or tan brush tip marker for shading in the city.
Black Pigma fine line fabric marker for drawing in the city details.
Perlescent white paint to dot in the city windows
Glitter in whatever color scheme you choose (I used red, gold and silver)
Foil Glue – I prefer the squeezable white foil glue sold by the Bo-Nash company, which is available on their website, www.bonash.com, direct URL: http://www.bonashstore.com/store/c7/Tonertex_Arts_%26_Crafts.html. Their telephone number is 1-800-527-8811. It is also available on other websites.
Foil Glitter – Comes in a little tower of separate, screwed-on flat containers, available at the same URL as the foil glue and at other websites.
Moleskin – Available in the foot care section of the pharmacy. Get the thinnest kind and cut a small square of it to stick on just above your needle. Soak it with Sewer’s Aide.
Sewer’s Aide – A silicon product that will lubricate your thread as it goes over the soaked moleskin. It is extremely effective in keeping metallic thread from breaking.
Standard Sewing Supplies – All that stuff you always need like rotary cutters, pins, needles, sewing machine, etc.
Optional Supplies – This piece will have a lot of bling, but you can embellish it if you like.
Hotfix Rhinestones or Schwarovsky Crystals – You can get these at most craft stores, like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby or Richards, or online at places like www.mjtrim.com. Keep your color scheme in mind and buy the ones that will embellish your Masterpiece when you are finished.
Beads and Other Embellishments – The sky is the limit. Feel free to add beads, sequins, and whatever else you can think of to make these fireworks feel real.
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