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Friday, December 18, 2009

Last Minute Quilling - Quilled Trinket Boxes

Here is a cute idea for a last minute gift, and you probably have all of the supplies to make it right in your quilling supplies. You will need a whole package of 1/8” strips to make the top and bottom of this little quilled trinket box. Start by making a tight coil using a full strip, add a second strip by slipping it into the coil about 6” from the end of the first strip, continuing to add strips until the coil is the size that you want. (I use approximately 20 full strips to make a 2” tight roll for the bottom.) Glue the end of the last strip down and flatten the coil and coat the bottom with glue. (I like to coat the bottom, where is doesn’t show, so the paper doesn’t get a “shiny” look). Repeat the process to make a top for your trinket box, then gently shape the top into a sculptured roll and coat the inside of the top with glue. I like to do the top and bottom of my boxes in the same color and then use a contrasting color for the “sides” of the box. I use a strip of paper about 11” long and 1 ½” wide for the sides: I usually cut a strip from one of the accessory packs, but any paper will work. Roll the strip into a ring coil, glue the end of the strip down and then glue to the bottom of the box. I make the sides a little smaller than the bottom so a lip shows. I also make a ring coil to glue in the top of the box using a 1/8” strip, this ring coil is slightly smaller than the ring coil used for the sides. This is just to keep the top from slipping off the box. You can add a small tight roll to the top of the box for a handle. Now you can have fun decorating your box, adding quilled designs to the sides and top. These would make adorable hostess gifts or table favors; they would also make great shower or wedding favors.
If you have problems with large tight rolls, there is a tool called the curling coach which is helpful, although with a little practice you can do them just using your fingers. I learned the technique of adding strips as I was rolling from Jane Jenkins. I was surprised at how easy it is. When I first started making large tight rolls, it was to make a chess set from a kit. This was probably 25 years ago. It was suggested to glue the strips end to end. I can’t even tell you how much harder that was. I would get six or seven strips rolled and somehow loosen my grip on the whole thing and end up with a twelve foot tendril! Try rolling that up again! Sliding the strips in as you roll makes the whole process so much easier and the resulting coil is nice and smooth, not lumpy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pat's Quilled 3D Christmas Tree & "Pattern"

We’ve had a lot of inquiries lately about the quilled Christmas tree on the web site. The tree is at least 20 years old by now but always causes people to stop and look at it. I thought it was time for me to write down some general instructions for those of you who would like to make one. When I first started making Christmas trees the only green available was the bright Christmas green. I prefer a darker green, like a forest green or hunter green, but that is a matter of personal taste. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how much paper you will need because it will be determined by the size of the tree and how loose (or tight) your quills are Just be sure you have plenty of green so all of your paper is from the same dye lot. (I actually spray painted one of my trees because the greens didn’t match. YUK!) The tree is very simple to make. I started with a 4” circle cut from card stock for the base; I would normally use a dark color for the base but have started one on a white base to make it easier to see. My first row of quills was 6” teardrops which I glued (pointy side out) around the circumference of the base. My next row was 3” tight rolls which are glued on top (toward the back) of the teardrops. The rest is easy . . . just keep alternating rows of teardrops and tight rolls. Each row is glued farther back than the one before; the shape of the tree just comes naturally. You can make the tree in any size; mine are usually about 6” high. If you want a smaller tree, start with a smaller circle; for a larger tree use a bigger circle. The tree “trunk” is tight rolls (I use at four full strips to make them sturdy) stacked and glued together. You can make these with 3/8” strips so you don’t have to stack so many. Glue the “trunk” to the middle of the card stock base and then glue to whatever you are using for the base of the finished piece. (Mine is on a wood base that came with a glass dome.) I made my trunk about 1 ¾” high because I put little paper packages and quilled figures under the tree. The fun part is decorating the tree. I made lots of tiny bows from 1/16” wide paper. The candles are tight rolls made from ¼” paper strips about 1/12” long. Glue a bow to the candle base and put a 1” shaped teardrop for the flame. I use 12” strips to make little bells from silver paper (the new metallics are much prettier than what I used) and glue a bow to the top and a matching “clapper” inside. I also added some little yellow stars (using 5 one inch teardrops), Christmas balls (using 18” of paper is different colors), folded roses, and made red and white candy sticks by twisting the two colors into tendrils. This is my favorite type of tree, although I have also made some Victorian trees and decorated them with fans, hearts, roses, candles, and bells. Hmmm . . . maybe it’s time for new tree!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with family, friends, and of course, lots of good food. It is my favorite holiday; a day spent with those we love without all of the “hoopla” of some of the other holidays. This year I have been reflecting about the special people in my life. My children, who are my biggest fans; my husband, who willingly shares his home with “Whimsiquills”, (it’s not a very big house!); Debbie, without whom I couldn’t run the business and of course our friends and families. But I am also thinking about the quillers I have met over the years and how they have changed my life. Malinda Johnston, (former owner of Lake City Crafts) has been a kind of mentor over the years. She encouraged me to start selling supplies, published some of my work in her books, and still stays in touch even though she has retired and moved on. I am grateful for a special group of quillers (Mary Alice, Ev, Donna, Bobbye, Kay, Gerta, Rita, Rick, Jinny, and Malinda), who were, and still are, so dedicated to this beautiful art form that they formed the North American Quilling Guild so American quillers have a way to stay in touch and learn from each other. I am thankful for my friend Andy Papineau (Paplin Products) who has worked so closely with us here at Whimsiquills. He has worked with us to develop tools (like fringers and crimpers) that were truly scarce just a few short years ago, and he has brought in all of the colors I’ve asked for as well as specialty papers. He also prods me to keep working on new quilling kits, which I never would have done on my own. I am also grateful to countless numbers of quillers, many of whom I have never met, who have written to me over the years, sending pictures of their work as well as those who have let me feature them is this blog. I have a great deal to be thankful for; I get to work at something I love and I enjoy all of the quillers I work with. I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and a happy healthy holiday season.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Quilling Can Be Therapeutic

Quilling can be therapeutic . . . thank goodness for that! Of all of the things I enjoy doing: walking, gardening, reading, playing the piano, and quilling . . . quilling is the one thing I can do even when I am exhausted and unable to focus. Just the simple task of rolling shapes to be used in making flowers or snowflakes, something very routine, seems to calm my mind. There are times when I just make teddy bears or roses or shapes for several hours at a time; it helps to still my mind while keeping my fingers busy. I mention this because the last month has been a very tough one for me, personally. I have not been able to find the time, or collect my thoughts enough to put together a post for this blog. I have just come back from Florida where I spent a week helping my sisters move my mother and her husband into an assisted living facility. At 86 & 83 years of age, both of them are in failing health; he has had multiple strokes and my Mom is very frail and is having serious memory issues. My family has been trying to convince them that they needed to be in a safe place, but naturally, the actual move was precipitated by a crisis. While all of this was going on, my 96 year old mother-in-law fell and broke her hip necessitating several trips to New Jersey. One of my sons was hospitalized with a kidney stone, and to top it all off my daughter’s house was totally flooded due to a plumbing problem. Her house has been totally gutted and she is living in temporary housing for the next several months. So what does all of this have to do with quilling? Well, I came back home to Connecticut last week, took a look around and just didn’t know where to start to “pick up where I left off”. (Thank goodness, Debbie was here most of the time . . . that is until everyone in her house got sick!) Since my brain seems to be non-functional at this time, I finally sat down and started quilling. I just started making marquises . . . I figured I could use them for daisy petals at some point in the future. While I was tranquilly rolling them, I started thinking about the upcoming holidays and decided I could use those marquises to make snowflakes; before long I was so engrossed in what I was doing that I forgot about how "frazzled" I was feeling. So while I was trying to clear the fog from my brain I played around and made a bunch of Christmas cards. Quilling is definitely better than Valium . . .

Directions for snowflake card: (in case you are interested)
I used the new Snow Bubbles punch on a white Paplin fold over greeting card. I then cut a 3’x4” rectangle from an accessory pack and used the border punch. I attached it to the front of the cart using a Dotto removable adhesive (so I could reposition it if necessary. I found the center of the punched rectangle by measuring diagonally across the rectangle. The snowflake was made from six 6” marquises which I glued into six 4” open V’s. I then made six 2” teardrops and assembled the snowflake right on the card. The tiny snowflakes in the corners were the “falls” from the punch. Quick and easy. Directions for Christmas ornament:
I used the Antique Elegance Circle Border Punch for the green background, positioned it the red card with Dotto removable adhesive. Then I positioned a white circle die cut (2 ¼”) on the punched background. I marked the center of the die cut and put a green 3” tight roll in the center. I placed six 3” tight rolls around the center. I made six green 3’ teardrops which I alternated with six 3” marquises around the tight rolls. For the border around the die cut I used eighteen 3” marquises and eighteen green 3” tight rolls between the marquises.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Meet Alise!

Today I would like to write about a new quilling friend. As you all know the tea cup has kind of become my personal “logo” if you will. I can’t tell you how many people have written to me about getting directions for the tea cup. I don’t work with patterns, but was able to provide general instructions as to how I created the tea cup. It is always fun for me to see the results. I’d like you to meet Alise:

“My name is Alise and I am 15 years old. I’ve been quilling for 5 years. I contacted you about how you quilled the teacup on your website and you gave me wonderful instructions. I added some sugar cubes and candy. I entered in our local fair and won a blue ribbon. I made a Christmas Faberge Egg for this year’s fair. I enclosed a picture of these projects and a framed picture that I also made.”

Of course I was delighted to see her work as you will be. I wrote back and asked permission to show her work on my blog and to get a little more information from her.

“I am fifteen years old, in the tenth grade and from Lynn, MA. I began quilling in the fifth grade after taking a class that was being offered at a local Michael’s store. I only know basic quilling but with that I found you can do so much. I’ve given many quilled gifts at Christmas and to my teachers. For the past four summers, during vacation, I’ve challenged myself to do bigger quilled pieces for our local agricultural fair – the Topsfield Fair and I have happily won four blue ribbons. I like to embellish my pieces with pearls, beads and especially Australian crystal rhinestones. The tea cup and saucer that was displayed on your website was my first attempt at a three dimensional piece. Although it was very challenging, I really loved the finished product. Besides quilling, I like to knit, play tennis and play my violin.”

In this age of “instant gratification” it is truly refreshing to see a young person willing to take the time to create. Thank goodness we have Alise to carry on our beautiful art.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Quilling with the Visually Impaired & Evangeline (Part 2)

In my August 7th post (Evangeline Enns & Quilling with the blind), I told you that Evangeline Enns was going to be working with some visually impaired people who wanted to learn to quill. We got a lot of feedback from that post, and I thought I would take a few minutes to update you on how it was going. I spoke with Evangeline yesterday. She has had two classes already and was busy preparing for her next class. She made shape charts for her “students” by gluing the actual quilled shapes to the chart (instead of printed shapes). This would give the new quillers a point of reference, they could feel the shape she was teaching them, and then make one of their own. She has her group finger rolling and said they seem to be pretty comfortable with that. They are working with ¼” wide strips and they are measuring and cutting them on their own. At their first session, (I forgot to ask how long each class is), she had them making teardrop shapes for flower petals, and they learned how to shape short strips to use as stems. At the next meeting she had them make marquises so they could add leaves to their flowers. She says they are an enthusiastic group and some of them want to make snowflakes! We talked about how they could do that with no visual pattern . . . but decided that if it were a simple snowflake to start, they would be able to feel the different shapes used . . . but the placement? I know many sighted quillers do use a pattern to get their snowflakes nice and even and suggested copying the patterns and then using a ball point pen or an embossing tool to go over the lines of the pattern. That would make a raised pattern on the back side of the paper. Most quillers that I know, who do use patterns, put a sheet of waxed paper or Mylar over the pattern and then lay their pieces on the pattern. I would think that using a piece of plastic food wrap instead of the waxed paper would allow them to “feel” the pattern through the plastic wrap. Once again I am asking for any suggestions or feedback from you, the readers, this is definitely a “learn as you go” project, but a very exciting one.

I also spoke with a quilling friend of mine who is legally blind, and who had put her quilling away when she lost her sight. When I told her about Evangeline’s classes, she decided to give it a try, once again. I will let you know how she makes out. We talked about the necessity for good organization for the blind . . . for those of us who are blessed with sight; we can have a messy workspace and just pick out the appropriate color strip from the pile on our tabletop. Perhaps organizing strips by color could be done by using the label makers available in office supply stores to label the front of plastic drawers or the top of the bags the strips come in. Once again, I am open for any suggestions.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Quilling Tool Lending Program/Quilling Teachers

Just in case you haven’t noticed . . . I love quilling. I am fascinated by “all things quilled”. I was so impressed with the “simple” designs quillers created for the Accord Calendar project a couple of years ago. Simple is in quotes because the projects were anything but. It took a great deal of creativity to create designs that used no more than 108” of quilling paper. I was blown away when I saw my first reliquary the year we had our quilling conference in Rochester, NY. My personal goals included creating my own quilling and helping to promote this little known art form. That’s why I worked towards organizing American quillers so many years ago helped in organizing what today has become the North American Quilling Guild. Of course, now I have Whimsiquills, the business that has taken over my home and a large portion of my life. I am still selling my work and of course selling supplies as well, but I find I don’t have much time left over. I don’t get to teach or demonstrate much anymore (unless we have a visiting quiller here at the studio). So how do I keep promoting the art?

We have come up with a program that I think is pretty unique, a lending program. When I talk to a scout leader or teacher who is planning to teach a group to quill . . . I tell them about our tool lending program. Most of these groups have a very limited budget (if any at all), so we send them the tools they need for their class at no charge, along with some other goodies (sometimes bookmarks or mat boards, whatever we have on hand). We also make sure they have links to our free patterns and instructional sheets which include things like a basic shapes chart and are all free and downloadable. We also encourage them to visit our blog where we have all kinds of helpful info like teaching quilling. We have had an excellent response to this program.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Meeting Fellow Quillers in the Stranger Sitting Next To You

What are the odds of two strangers sitting next to each other on a bus and finding out that they are both quillers? Well I am no mathematician, but considering how few quillers there are in the world, I would assume the odds of that happening were very small. It happened in July. I had to spend some time with my mother and her husband who was recovering from multiple strokes. They live in The Villages, FL, which is an awesome retirement community (if you like Florida, which I do not, especially in July . . . UGH) When it was time for me to head back to Connecticut, I took a shuttle bus from the Villages to the Orlando airport. I was sitting on the bus reading, waiting to leave when a woman came over and asked if she could sit next to me. We got to chatting and I told her that I was going back home and needed to get back to work. She asked me what I did . . . (don’t you just hate that question, cause then you have to explain what quilling is to someone who never heard of it. Oh I just roll little bits of paper up and then pinch them into etc., etc., etc.-you know, you’ve all been there) Well, imagine how shocked I was when I told her I was a quiller and she responded that she was too! We spent a delightful hour and a half on the shuttle talking about quilling, how she got started quilling and how I got started. We talked about selling our work, and making quilled cards, who her teacher was, finding other quillers, the North American Quilling Guild and so on. You know the kinds of conversations quillers always have when they find each other. We exchanged email addresses and when I handed her my business card, she got so excited because she was visiting with Whimsiquills! So then the conversation shifted to my web site, and the blog and the different things I’ve done since starting Whimsiquills. When we got to the airport, we continued to “hang out” while we waited for our flights. She was heading to Long island, NY, so I let her know that the 2010 NAQGCON was going to be held there; she had missed the Tampa NAQGCON due to illness. One of the many things we talked about was a quilled doll she had made. I asked her to send me a picture because it sounded like a novel idea and I would like to post a picture on my blog. She said she used needlework canvas for the dress and placed the quilling on that. We’ve stayed in touch through emails and Facebook, and every time we “speak” we laugh about how we found each other. I guess it was just serendipity.

BTW I do have a page on Facebook and I have started a quillers group as well.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Quilling in Magazines

Just imagine strolling down the aisle of your local supermarket or drugstore and then looking over at the magazines next to the checkout counter . . . there staring back at you on the cover of a women’s magazine (not a craft magazine) is a beautiful quilled design. How exciting that would be! Beautiful quilling, right out there for everyone to see and “ooh and aah” over. There is such a magazine, but unfortunately it is not here in the United States.

My quilling friend, Malinda Johnston, (yes that Malinda Johnston, the one who authored so many quilling books and founded Lake City Crafts) gave me a call after she came back from her trip to Paris. While in France she took a side trip to the Netherlands to visit her friend Trees Tra, who is also a quiller. (Some of you may have some of Trees Tra’s quilling books.) At any rate, she gave Malinda a copy of a Dutch women’s magazine called Libelle. The cover of the magazine shown here was covered with a delightful quilled design. Malinda was kind enough to send me the magazine; not only was there quilling on the cover but many of the article titles were done in quilling. If the whole title wasn’t quilled the capital letters were. While I am sure copy write laws would prohibit showing you all of these pages, I can tell you they were awesome. An article about Club Tropicana had the letters CLUB quilled with tropical palm trees coming out of the letters. What a boost for the art of quilling! The style looked kind of familiar to me; I went through the magazine to see if the artist was listed. When I couldn’t find any reference to her, I emailed the magazine to inquire who the artist was. (I used the Google translator since my knowledge of the Dutch language is non-existent. I can read some German and was able to get the general idea of some of the articles, but certainly couldn’t make an inquiry in anything other than English. Isn’t the internet awesome?) I did get a reply, and as I expected the artist was Yulia Brodskaya. I am sure many of you have heard of her, her work has been the subject of many quilling blogs. Her web site says “Yulia Brodskaya was born in Russia (Moscow); prior to moving to the UK in 2004 she was interested in diverse creative practices ranging from Textile Painting, Origami and Collage to more traditional Fine Art practices. Following an MA in Graphic Communication (2006, University of Hertfordshire) she has continued to experiment and explore ways of bringing together all the things she likes most: typography, paper, and highly detailed hand-made craft objects.” Here is a link to her web site When you get there click on Illustration and then PAPERgraphic to see some of her awesome work.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Quilling with Allen Girvin

One of the things that make my business so interesting is the contact I have with so many different quillers all over the world. Quillers are generous people who are always willing to share their ideas. Experienced quillers all know that when it comes to glue in quilling “less is best” and each of us has our own way of limiting the amount of glue we use on our work so we don’t get that pesky glue shine showing behind our quills. I recently spoke with a gentleman in his 90’s who told me he had developed a glue well which kept his glue moist and allowed him to use just the tiniest bit at a time. The sample he sent me was a square piece of Corian (you know the stuff that they make countertops from) He has drilled a hole in it and inserted a plastic cap. The glue gets squirted into the plastic cap and is then covered with a piece of masking or painter’s tape, (the tape is what keeps the glue from drying up)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Evangeline Enns & Quilling with the Blind

One of my favorite sayings is “life is what happens while you are making other plans” . . . well that is the story of my life! The last month or so has been absolute chaos. I had to spend more than a week in Florida, staying with my mom and her ailing husband, came back to CT and got busy with wedding orders, had a colossal flood, and then had to be in NJ for my Dad’s 90th birthday. WHEW! No wonder I’m tired. Those are my excuses for not keeping up with the blog! But . . . I’m back in the swing of things . . . sort of.

Several weeks ago I did a blog about teaching quilling to the visually impaired. Lots of responses and suggestions came in which I have not had time to compile. However, I did make copies of everything you all sent and forwarded them to Evangeline Enns, the Canadian quiller who is taking on this project. I am posting the letter she sent to me regarding all of your hints and tips. I will post some of the suggestions at a later date.

For Pat Caputo from Evangeline Enns RE: Teaching the blind to Quill.

Thanks to all who blogged & gave me the encouragement I needed. It arrived just in time too…the (C.N.I.B.) Canadian National Institute for the Blind; Edmonton chapter has a very good activity director who wants to add quilling to her array of classes given. Each of your notes had good ideas for me & I now feel it is possible. I feel that the people I will be working with have capabilities that will solve my questions as we go along.
I have quilled for 25 years. I started using an opened out paper clip. The knurled edge helped keep the paper in place. I discovered the tool only to be told by the English when I showed a piece in the England in the 90’s that I must go without it. I now do what each piece needs. I did not know until I read Dorah’s blog that I was rolling tool without watching or seeing through fingers and had been for years. Now I’m paying attention to what I feel as I use my tool.
I lay the paper flat between my left thumb and index finger. The paper is completely covered. With my right hand holding the tool, slide it on to the paper by wiggling the tool. When it is on, the thumb can be a “wall” to wiggle to, and then roll. Don’t forget to use your finger nail to prepare paper first.
Our first meeting in September will cover marquises, for a flower, a tight circle for the center, a couple of flowers and stems using ¼” strips. The activity director is going to shadow box each one so they will feel successful. This lady is quite sure this is possible, after she made a simple fridge magnet. She knows her people and their capabilities. As you know a flower in a box has more class than a fridge magnet with the same flower. At the end of the day I will probably be in shock.
After this we’ll know who are really interested in starting to learn the basics and make a sampler. I can show the way but they will show me how it can be done one class at a time.
Thank you so much for your encouragement. Keep in touch.
Evangeline Enns

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Quilled Table Decorations

I have been somewhat remiss in keeping up with this blog in these last few weeks. I have been called away on a family medical emergency which is not yet totally resolved. However, I am back home for the time being, and would like to share something with you on a more positive note. I will be attending a brunch on Saturday for my father who is celebrating his 90th birthday. This is an interesting story. I have only known him for the last 10 years. He and my mother were married in 1939, and he went off to the War in 1943, two days after I was born. Their marriage was only one of many war casualties. I didn’t “find’ him again until ten years ago. After all those years, we have reestablished contact and I gained not only a father, but a wonderful brother and a really bright and beautiful niece. What does all of this have to do with quilling? When I received the invitation to this special birthday brunch, I called to see what I could bring. I was asked to do some table decorations. What else could I do but quill something. I really can’t take total credit for the idea because I immediately thought of some of the large scale decorations my friend Molly Smith did for her book The New Paper Quilling . So I ran out to the dollar store and picked up some clear glass vases, went to Michaels to get some clear glass marble thingies, pulled out some wooden shish kebob skewers, and went to work. I usually work with short lengths of quilling strips, sometimes as short as 1”, so this was quite a stretch for me, working with 12” and 24” strips. I used all 3/8” width strips and started making flowers. After the flowers were dry, I turned them upside down and glued the skewers into the centers for stems. (I painted the wood skewers green). To save time, I used green squares of tissue paper for “foliage”, poking the stems through the squares and then scrunching them up and voila! Table decorations!

PS - I will do part 2 of Quilling for the Blind as soon as I get all of the comments you sent compiled.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Quilling for the blind?

I had a very interesting phone call the other day from one of my quilling friends. She had been contacted by an agency that works with the blind; they wanted to know if she would teach a quilling class. She wanted to know if I knew any blind quillers. I do know a couple of legally blind quillers who are able to quill using the magnifier closed circuit TV devise (I am not sure of the actual name of these devises; I know they are very helpful for those who are not completely blind) I am writing this blog in the hopes that some of you may have some other ideas, or may know someone who works with the blind. I suggested she might want to talk to someone who works with the blind, possibly one of the schools for the blind.I know they teach other handwork and thought some of those techniques might be applied to quilling. We brainstormed on the phone for a while . . . here are some of the thoughts we had.

Making some of the various shapes and then letting the student “feel” the shapes is a possible way of demonstrating the kinds of shapes that can be made. It would seem to me that finger rolling would be the best way to go rather than trying to “thread “a slotted tool. I am also thinking that starting with wider strips might make sense since the pieces would be larger and perhaps easier to handle. Of course you wouldn’t be able to “show” this technique, but by feeling a straight strip, and then explaining that the strip should be run over the fingernail to “soften” it and start it curling. Once the curl at the tip is started, it is fairly simple to continue to roll the strip into a loose coil. I would suggest using a fine tip glue bottle to glue the end of the strip down so the glue can be placed exactly where it is needed. (I find the glue bottle less messy than working with a toothpick and spot of glue). Once rolled and glued it would be fairly simple to pinch the coil into the desired shape.

Then we have the issue of colors etc. Many sighted quiller store their strips in the original packaging, If the packages were marked in Braille it would be helpful in keeping colors organized. My thought would be to put finished shapes into something like the cups of a styrofoam egg carton. The edges of the cups could be marked in Braille with the color and shapes. Another option would be to store shapes in small strips in the plastic chests used to store nuts and bolts etc. That is how I store my quilled flowers, small strips and extra shapes. I do organize them by color and either have a small strip of the color or the name of the color taped to the front of the drawer, again this could be marked in Braille. As I think about it, I think the chests might work better than the egg carton idea; they wouldn’t get knocked over or tipped as easily.
When it comes to actual designs, I am kind of stumped. Perhaps letting the students feel some different designs would give them some ideas. Arranging pieces would be determined by feeling the shapes. These were just a few of my thoughts. I think a blind quiller would have to be much better organized than I am. (No piles of bits of strips and shapes like there are on my work table) It is a challenging question. I would love to hear your thoughts and will be happy to share them in a future post. You can comment on the blog or email me directly at

Friday, June 19, 2009

Differences in Quilling Papers/Strips - Updated

I spent some time reviewing previous blog posts and realized that it was time to update my post about the differences in quilling strips. When I first started selling strips, Lake City was the main American supplier, now Paplin Products has a wonderful line of papers, as well as Quilled Creations. J&J Quilling (English) still leads the pack with some wonderful novelty papers, gilded edges, pearl edges; holofoil edges . . . read on to learn more about how these all differ and how they are alike.

A frequently asked question, especially from new quillers, concerns the differences in quilling strips. How are English strips different from American strips etc? Probably, the most obvious difference is in the length of the strips. In the 1970's, 24" was the standard length for quilling strips. That is no longer the case. Lake City papers are 24” long with the exception of their watercolors, which are 12". Paplin papers, another American paper, are generally 23" long, their graduated and two toned strips (which by the way are actually “printed”) are 12” long. Quilled Creations, another American company, strips are about 18" long; their graduated papers are about 12" long. English strips are about 17” long with graduated strips coming in at 12”. The English also have some wonderful novelty (specialty) papers such as graduated strips where the colors darkens as it goes up the strip, dark center strips which go from white to color to white again, two – toned papers which have different colors on each side of the papers, pearlized on edge papers, & holofoil and gilded edged papers which are absolutely beautiful. Not to be “outdone”, the American companies (Paplin and Lake City) have both come out with lines of pearlized and metallic papers, which have a pearlized or metallic finish on both sides of the strips. Paplin has some beautiful pastel pearlized colors, and both companies have some very rich “jewel toned” metallic’s, deep green, blue, and a deep wine color. I have used these papers for some very special effects. I recommend that you use tacky glue on these strips as they have a different finish (almost slippery) than standard strips.

Both papers (American & English) work well together although with today’s economy and with the difference between the dollar and the British pound the English strips are more expensive. We continue to bring in English colors that are not available here in the states. The weights of the different papers vary, some of the darker colors are a heavier weight (I have been told that the heavier weight has something to do with being able to take the darker dye, although the Paplin black is a nice easy weight to work with). Specialty papers, like parchment, tend to be a lighter weight. Some of the "quilling" paper sold in scrapbooking stores, (especially the tube paper sold as "quillstix") is very heavy, almost as heavy as cardstock. Unfortunately, some members of the scrapbooking community are saying this is the only weight that will hold up in a scrapbook. Those of us who have been quilling for a while know that this is not accurate. Regular quilling paper is incredibly strong when rolled and placed on edge. Since we carry so many different kinds of papers here at Whimsiquills, I have tried them all. I don't like working with the heavy "card stock" like papers, and find them difficult to finger roll without getting unwanted creases. If I have to roll a heavier paper, I generally use a tool to keep tension even.

All of the choices now available can cause some confusion for new quillers. I find that all of the papers can work pretty well together if you are just careful to measure the strips you cut from the different brands. For example: if you are using an English yellow for the center of a flower, but an American orchid for the petals, you will want to start out with the same length strips. If you are using a heavier weight paper for a flower center, you will either have to make the strip a little shorter to compensate for the larger size center, or perhaps make a couple of extra petals for your flower.

In some English kits and books, directions are given as using 1/4, 1/8 of a strip. Obviously, if you are using papers of different lengths, you will have to go back to the tried and true method of measuring out your strips. I hope this has answered some of the questions about the many papers available.
Here is an added note of interest for those of you who might be combining quilling with card making or scrapbooking. Paplin offer every one of its colors in 8 ½ x 11 sheets and will do special cuts ½”, or 1” strips to be used for punched flowers/leaves or borders. They also offer a line of color greeting cards which match some of their most popular colors.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Quilling with Rick Whitman

It is my pleasure to introduce Rick Whitman as this week’s featured quiller. I know Rick pretty well and I am proud to say I gave Rick her first quilling lessons. I remember her sitting in the class and saying that she had just retired from her job and was looking to learn something new. She wasn’t at all sure that quilling was for her, but after her first class, I was convinced! I generally teach the basic shapes for my first class and then let the new quillers use those shapes to create a design of their own. When Rick came back for her second class, she showed us a tiny Madonna and child that she had created. Her pattern was a tiny line drawing that she found in a newspaper. From then on there was no stopping her! She quilled a tiny bouquet of flowers to match the ones her niece carried as a flower girl. Rick also does counted cross stitch. She often does bible verses which we mat (I help with the matting) and then she quills on the mat. She loves to do tiny, tiny flowers and has an incredible imagination. In addition, Rick and her husband Wil are super nice people. We always enjoy a visit with them here at Whimsiquills.

When I agreed to coordinate the first Accord Quilling Calendar (1997), I had a little trouble getting quillers to participate; some felt they couldn’t create small, “simple’ designs that could be included in the calendar/kit. Rick came up with 27 designs including a horse drawn sleigh,

garden tools,

and a tiny woven basket with fruit.

Her designs for the 2008 calendar (N2008) were also outstanding. I’ve included just a few of the pictures here.

When Accord decided not to publish the 2009 calendar, we were all disappointed. Rick had done some adorable nursery rhyme characters. Since they weren’t going to be used for the calendar she had to figure out a way to use them. She used that great imagination again. Here is what she did with them. She told me her nephew helped her with the computer generated backgrounds; these are the pieces she brought to display at this year’s NAQGCON. (North American Quilling Guild Conference 2009)

But two of my favorite pieces of Rick’s (although I love them all), are this three dimensional hummer, and this tiny replica of her own wedding cake . . . and this from someone who wasn’t sure she could learn to quill!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Quilling with Delphene

Whenever I get some downtime, I enjoy seeking out other quillers on the net. It is always fun to see what others are doing with their quilling skills, often I am pleasantly surprised. Actually, Delphene, who is Dutch and French, found me! She emailed me and told me how much she enjoyed the Whimsiquills site, and told me a little bit about herself. When I saw Delphene’s web site, which is in French, Dutch and English, I contacted her and asked her if I could feature her on my blog. As it turned out, she was moving to Orlando, FL so I sent her information about the NAQGCON (North American Quilling Guild Conference), and she was able to attend. She asked me to wait until after the conference to publish her “interview” because she planned on showing her quilled lingerie, (yes, you read that right!), at the conference. We have put a few pictures of her work here in the blog, but be sure to take a few minutes to visit her site; she has some really neat work to share with you. Here is a link because English is a second language, Delphene has given me permission to do some editing, but most of her story is in her own words.

“I started quilling at the age of 8 or 10. My sister had won a craft kit at a Saint Nicholas (November 5th) feast given by the Dutch embassy in Paris. This kit included a simple quilling pattern with a few strips of paper, since she took no interest in it, I finally made it. It was flowers with a bird. Though it looks quite awful, I really enjoyed making it and was proud of it at that time. I always kept it as a reminder, but it is somewhere in a box in France and I don't have a picture of it to show you.

Anyway, from that moment, I never stopped quilling. I was lucky to have an aunt in the Netherlands who was loved crafts (she even worked later in a craft shop) and though she never enjoyed quilling herself, she helped me purchase the paper strips and my first books (I was also lucky that quilling was in at the moment in the Netherlands, because it is now almost impossible to find any quilling supplies and there was no internet then). In the first years I mostly made cards for birthdays, Christmas... following the patterns. When I mastered the basic shapes, the flowers.... I made bigger patterns still following the books. I actually made all the patterns from Malinda Johnson book: Decoratief Papierfiligraan (in Dutch): the panda, the alphabets... which is my very favorite book.

At that time, I had less time with my study and my job, and became bored by the book patterns. So when I had more time during a holiday, 5 years ago maybe, I made my first personal designs. From that moment I kept receiving orders from friends and family, since I told them that you can do everything in quilling, and it is always a new challenge. I also sold a few of my creations in a shop in Paris owned by a guy who made the most amazing origami lamps I've ever seen. Since he had to close the shop (he's now selling on internet) and I was to move to the US anyway I had the idea to create my website: in English and Dutch to make contact with other quillers, in French to promote quilling in France where it is completely unknown. I never took pictures of my creations before I started selling them. And when I created my website I have been asking around for pictures of the quilling I have given away, and most of them are now in my picture gallery, there are just a few creations missing.

I make flowers and frames when I am asked for them, but they are not my favorite (I might have made too many of them earlier!). I enjoy making designs who are the main object of decoration. I tried modern techniques like 3D and husking, but I have a preference for traditional quilling. I use almost no tools, and I coil the strips with my fingers; I used to work with 3 mm strips, but I now often use smaller ones.

I like using the traditional basic shapes in a new context. I particularly enjoyed making the umbrella, and I am currently making lampshades in the same way. I also like making fantastic animals, working on the shapes and colors, the eye expressions. My lingerie designs have a huge success, and I intend to make a whole collection. I have a lot of other projects, and my problem is not a lack of inspiration but a lack of time!!

After high school I studied law, and worked as a student in kitchens. After a few years I decided to turn myself to bakery and pastry; Though I do love my job as a pastry cook, I really envy you for being able to quill full time; and I would love to teach quilling because the persons I tried to interest in it never had the required patience for quilling! . I will love to have some feedback from anyone who visits my site.”