Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Playing with My ScanNCut2

I have been wanting to buy the ScanNCut2 for a while now. I have been watching all of Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's click here You Tube tutorials and blog posts on the ScanNCut2. She is a paid rep for the product and she does all sorts of fun things with it. What caught my eye was the fact that it has a built in scanner and can cut a big variety of materials. As opposed to the other cutting machines on the market that only use expensive dye cutters. Of coarse this made the ScanNCut2 more expensive, but it will use my own original designs, and will cut stencil plastic. This is going to be my last splurge for myself, after getting some lawsuit money, now I have to watch my pennies, and be responsible with the dough.
I am a stencil addict!! I have a large collection of stencils that I have purchased, and I use them on gelatin plates, and direct painting on fabric. So the idea of cutting my own stencils really appealed to me. I have tried to cut my own stencils with an Exacto knife or a hot knife tool, but my hand cramps up before I get too far. The first items I tried to use were women's figures, that I cut out of Oprah's "O" magazine when I was up at my sisters. I made outlines of the figures and scanned them in. The machine is so detail oriented it tried to cut both the inside and the outside of my lines, and tried to cut out my handwriting that I had put on the drawing.
The contortionist figure in the original magazine format, outlined, painted black and resized. So I took all my magazine images and painted them with black acrylic paint. These scanned very well and I did about 30 of them. I just could not stop cutting them out. They all had such different body language, and the body language tells a story. I even named them after some friends because they reminded me of gestures the friends make.
I first tried an inexpensive packet of template plastic I got at Hobby Lobby (the white plastic). Now I know why it was cheap, it was way too thick, even hard to cut with a scissors. So I went back to my dwindling stash of Xray film, the plastic is perfect for templates. It is getting hard to come by, everyone has gone to digital xrays. I got mine from a friend who's a veterinarian, they still use the old xrays, and there is no confidentiality issues with pet xrays. The quilter's template plastic from Joann's & Michael's is just fine, but more expensive.
With simple designs that have a single line outline and no interior cuts, you get a stencil and the mask. I use masks more on my gelatin prints than I do the stencils. You can also use spray acrylic on the masks, and it leaves a negative image.
Next I decided to try to make stencils from some of the built in designs. I bought the 650 model instead of the 250, because it had more built in patterns, more accessories, and free access to their online software and patterns. You can see how detailed and delicate it will cut. Of course it will reverse and resize the image too.
Next I made a stencil with different size snowflakes all grouped together into one stencil.
Next I made three different sizes of grapes, masks and stencils. It is much better when painting to have a size variation to your stencils, it adds more interest and variety. The xray film comes in colors any where between clear and dark, maybe you can clean the dark color off the plastic? If I think I am going to need the view for placement or fussy cutting, then I use the clear sections, it also came in a gold tone which was opaque. I cut a lot of plastic that day and decided to take a break.
A few days later I had gotten a couple of stacks of scrapbook paper on sale at Joann's. So I decided to just play with cutting paper. The ScanNCut will also cut fusible backed fabric, and since I am primarily an art quilter that excites me too, but I will wait til later when I have more practice with the machine, and develop some original designs. It will also cut, leather, felt, rubber stamp material, vinyl and many more materials. I cut out a whole bunch of my ladies in paper, just playing with sizing and placement on the material.
I laid all these out on a piece of fabric, to give you an idea where I want to go with my art quilting. I call this arrangement the "Party Girls" find the Marilyn Monroe figure and the one with the wild hair, several look like they are dancing.
I cut two girls doing handstands out of printed paper and two from solid card stock. I was going to use the orange as a shadow on the printed girls, but this arrangement looked like fun too.
I cut these built in designs out of the heavier card stock, just to try them and to see how large I could make them. They maxed out at 8 inches, I wonder how small I can go. These patterns were more complex and took longer to cut, and I had to pick all the little bits out, but a lot of it stuck to the adhesive mat. They are so much fun, I can't wait to use the medallion as a stencil!
Just goofing off, I made some paper name tags for me and my friend Susan for when we go to the Fyber Cafe meetings. I have several embroidered name tags, but could not find any of them when I went to the meeting yesterday.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Bandon Art Retreat 2016

Back in June, Fyber Cafe textile arts group had our annual art retreat to the Oregon Coast. We went for 4 day/3 nights to the retreat center at Forget Me Knots quilt shop in Bandon, Oregon. Lots of fun was had by all, I'll put a more detailed account on the Fyber Cafe blog click here I decided to take a couple of projects to finish up, that needed machine quilting and binding. My first priority was to finish a baby quilt for my nephew's new baby, it is made with Flower Fairy fabric and I free motion quilted hearts all over and added her name and the year in stitching too.
My next project to finish, is my medallion based on a Ricky Tims book. The title is "Fire in the Hole." It is my original design of curved machine piecing, and machine applique with a blanket stitch. When I saw the book, my first impression was "that looks fun to free motion quilt" NOT. There was no room for any fancy machine quilting, I used matching rayon thread to stitch in the ditch on the piecing and an 1/8" echo quilting on the applique.
Stitching the background was more challenging, I sat down to just do a small stipple to fill the area, then decided, no, I needed something more. I use freezer paper for everything, so I got a piece and sketched a design to coordinate with the applique, folded paper is great for symmetry. I cut four layers of paper and ironed them onto each corner and stitched around the pattern. It filled the area nicely, but I still had a lot of space on each side.
I cut a symmetrical pattern to use on the side, and stitched it also. The quilt binding is solid black to finish off the edge.
My friend Susan went with me, and we had wanted to do a project together. I had gotten the book "Happy Villages" by Karen Eckmeier, I had seen this before in an old issue of Quilting Arts magazine and had wanted to do it back then. This was the perfect opportunity to try it. I choose the pattern with a hillside over a lake, with a sky in the top corner with fluffy white clouds. My colors were sort of white, warm tan, gold, terracotta and some blue. Her technique starts you off with squares of fabric that are cut into stair step shapes and arranged onto the background. Then doors, roofs, windows, stairs, trees and other details are added to compose your picture. Well I got carried away again, over achiever syndrome, I fussy cut and fiddled with the doors etc... and made them too small and detailed. I ripped a few of the lower ones off and made bigger doors & windows, and they got smaller as you went up the hill. It took a LOT longer than I thought it would to arrange and glue everything in place. I like Avery glue sticks for my raw edge applique. The whole picture was covered with light blue tulle before the free motion stitching.
Over achiever OCD person here again, I did a lot of free motion quilting, very densely, with matching rayon threads. I used a few accent colors for roof, rock walls and such. The stitching details took lots of time, the whole rest of the retreat in fact. I am very happy with the result and have another village in mind that I would like to do.
Lorraine knew we were doing this project, so she brought her village, that she had made in a class with Karen Eckmeier, it is a lot simpler and smaller, with nice warm oranges and rust colors.
Susan got her village assembled at the retreat, but did not do any quilting yet. Her colors are clear and sharp and she choose a pattern with a river running through the village, with a bridge. We had lots of fun! I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here check out what other textile artist are doing this week.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Umpqua Valley Show 2016

The Umpqua Valley Quilters' Guild Show is in April every year, they reserve a space for the Fyber Cafe textile arts group to show our yearly challenges. This year's challenges are "She Flies With Her Own Wings" which is the Oregon state motto, and "The Path Less Traveled" which has a continuous path routed through all 12 wall hangings. My "Flies" entry is a raw edge collage of my cousin's granddaughter, sitting on the lawn with her pet chickens. I put real feathers in her hands, and I can just see her pretending to fly with her pets. Previous post photos did not have the quilting/thread painting yet. I use a lot of close stitching with matching rayon thread, sometimes accent colors for more detail. The hexagon background had wonderful texture, that you could really see best from the back.
My "Path" entry was shown in this previous post, click here, it is a collage of my own photographs printed on fabric and raw edge applique to outline and accent.
The entire "The Path Less Traveled" display, fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. It was suggested when we choose the theme, to have wavy edges. I don't think everyone realized it would create some challenging sharp points on the individual pieces, many of us used a facing to finish our art pieces, instead of traditional quilt binding.
The "Flies" display took two sections, but had a few things scattered thru the rest of our display, Vi's two stuffed dolls hung on either side of the aisle. Our info table had two 3-D bowls made by Amy and some 3-D vessels by Lorraine.
Cheryl's sculptures in needle felting are truly wonderful little characters. They have so much personality! She teaches needle felting classes at Knotty Lady on Jackson St. in Roseburg. To see the complete display of the Fyber Cafe show exhibit, click here. I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right hand column to see what other textile artists are doing this week.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Vacation is Over

After being on the road for 3 1/2 weeks, I have finally returned to Oregon. Me, myself and I, took the RV across country, thru Yellowstone Nat'l Park, thru WY, NE and KS and finally to a big family reunion with all the cousins and Aunts and Uncles in Missouri. Lots of good family time, BBQ's and sitting around the fire pit, and several friendly rounds of poker. Celebrating my birthday and two cousins and my brothers all in one week. Fireworks and a concert at Fort Leonard Wood on the Fourth of July. The next route took my sister and I up to Illinois to my brother's for a few extra days, and the first of the right out of the field, Del Monte sweet corn, yummm. I took I-80 straight back across the West to my brother-in-laws house in California, more time with nieces and nephews and family. I had planned out stops along the way to get free "Row by Row" patterns at quilts shops on my route, but I did a lot of driving before 10am and on Sunday and I did not want to get off the Interstate in the BIG cities. So I only managed to stop at about 12 shops, in smaller towns in the Midwest, but I got a few more around my brother's and in California too. I've got lots of photos to sort thru, Old Faithful, baby buffalo, wildflowers, Dinosaur Museum, and various scenic views. I got a sewing machine just for the RV and there is a little vanity table in the bedroom, just right for it, with window, electrical and lights.
I managed to get 3 Row by Rows made on the trip. The theme for this year is "Home Sweet Home." Of course I had to buy fabric at every shop that I stopped at, even tho I REALLY DON'T NEED anymore!!
My "Pile" of new fabric acquisitions.

I also got my self a 7 speed cruising bicycle to mount on the back, it is purple with a purple plaid seat and gear cover, and turquoise spokes :) I'll need to wear my red hat when I go riding around the camp grounds. I'll get some pics posted with this soon. I'm linking with Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday click here check it out and see what other talented textile artists are doing.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Ice Dyeing Play Day

Our Fyber Cafe group had a play day at my house to do ice dyeing. We were sweating it, the 3 previous days had been 100' but we got very lucky and it cooled down on Wednesday, to 70 for us, just perfect. We set up on wire racks with plastic & wire baskets for the fabric, layered on ice, and then sprinkled dry dye powder over the ice. We used all the baskets and wire racks that I had put out. The big yardage is Clare's, she spiraled each end of her yardage, with blue and purple dyes. Lorraine used a twist from the corner to pattern her fabric with indigo dye.
At the end of the day we were running out of baskets, so I pinned my last pieces of fabric on the clothes line. Using leftover liquid dye concentrates from a previous dye day, I dripped it on the fabrics. I had a lot of black that we did not use, and a limited color palette, no red or yellows.
I ordered silk charmuese scarves if people wanted to dye them, there were a few leftover, so I dyed them, I think I will use them as gifts when I go to the family reunion this summer.
I have been wanting some brown fabric for different applique projects and was having trouble mixing a nice one from turquoise/fuchsia/yellow primary colors. So I ordered Terra Cotta, Dutch chocolate and bronze from Dharma. Bronze is one of our favorite colors, but we really have no idea what color it really is, because it always splits into it's different parts, but it goes with just about any color we mix.
I believe that these are Electric blue & indigo, and Chinese red & fuchsia, with maybe a little terra cotta too, they have not been ironed yet, I just wanted to get something to post on Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday check her blog to see what other talented textile artists are doing this week.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

I'm Published

I AM PUBLISHED!! Wow! I could not believe it when a quilting friend told me at JoAnn's that I was in a magazine. The newest AQS magazine, May 2016, has a spread about the International Painters challenge that I was a part of. The 90 quilts have spent a year in Japan and a year in France. Now that they have reached the US the AQS wanted them to display at all 6 of their national shows this year. We had already given permission for photography and advertising for the display, so they just put it in the magazine. My quilt picture is on the first page, lower right, the one I did on Leonardo da Vinci. You can see my blog about it here and here.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Still Playing with Vintage Fabrics

Since my hands have been feeling better, I have gotten some much needed finishes on some old applique projects. I appliqued the last four blocks of the vintage Dresden Plate quilt, the only thing I allow myself to add to my vintage projects is muslin. A friend gave me the plates and a pile of extra wedges, I made enough additional plates to have a 4 x 5 block quilt top. The blocks are 16" square so they made a good size top, any more border and it would be too big and out of proportion. It really strained my vintage stash of fabric to get the long sashing strips, quiet a few of them are made with sewn scraps. I am also piecing together my "Dear Jane" border triangles. It is also all vintage fabric, I used the pastel solids to set with the pieced triangles. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, the main blocks are all quilted in three sections, all in the ditch, whew, what a LOT of quilting. Now I'll quilt the triangle borders and be ready to put it all together. I am thinking about what my next art quilt will be, I have so many ideas, I just need to settle down and do something. Also the Fyber Cafe ladies are coming over to my house next week to do some ice dyeing, so I have been cleaning up the backyard.