Saturday, June 30, 2018

Alaska Quilting Cruise

Immediately after returning from the retreat, I had 3 days to get ready for an Alaskan Quilting Cruise, whew! I got my laundry done, quilting supplies together, and at the last minute had to go dress shopping for formal nite, 'cause the dress I had planned on wearing was too small :( I stuffed a bunch of friends from the Fyber Cafe group into my RV and we took off for Seattle. After a few quilt shops along the way, and lunch, we made it to Gig Harbor in about 8 hours. One of our dear friends Pat had moved there last year, and we really missed her in our group, we stayed at her house over night. In total we had 6 quilters and two spouses, in the RV, dropped off at the cruise terminal and I went to park. We were all so excited, the Holland America Eurodam, was huge! But docked next to the Princess Cruise ship she was NOT. Pat and I had a veranda room, very nice. Our first quilting class while we traveled North was with Anna Buzzalino, called "Moments" it was a curved machine applique class, where we designed our own pattern abstract from a photo.
I spent most of the day, sketching abstract curves from my photo of a hen and chicks succulent, I ended up where I started with a bulls eye design. Anna helped everyone with their designs, all different and personal. After enlarging it to a 18 x 24 paper, we traced it again so we could mark up a copy with colors, layers, sections and sewing order, and registration marks to match the curves. This took quiet a lot of time and deep thinking. Next we traced it all again on fusible interfacing for our working pattern. We were getting to the end of the day, so she showed us how to iron the fusible to the back of our fabric and paint starch on the seam allowance and iron the edges under. Over lapping the pieces and sewing with a clear monofilament thread in a small zigzag. I managed to get about 4 pieces put together. The designing was fun, I would have made a more accurate copy of my photo by myself, but did abstract the design, which is NOT my thing. I am more of a realist. So I was very happy with the results. When I got home I decided to work on it or it would have been forgotten in my "to do" pile.
I had quiet a puzzle on the fabric choices, I used mostly batiks and finally decided to go bright and light in the middle with very high contrast. Going more subdued and lower contrast, as the colors got darker and faded to the outside. I paid more attention to contrast than value, which was different for me. I ended up using my own technique for construction, not Anna's. I folded the seam allowance under with a glue stick, and glued the layered pieces together. Then I used a blind hem stitch with the clear monofilament thread to applique and quilt all at once. I highly recommend YLI thread, it is thin and very flexible! I was originally thinking of doing some thread painting to shade some of the colors, but I liked the simplicity of the graphic quality so I did not add any additional quilting. I'll post more of the trip next time. I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click herecheck it to see what other talented textile artists are doing.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Bandon Retreat 2018

I spent 7 wonderful days at Bandon on the Southern Oregon coast, for a quilting retreat. Barb, in my Fyber Cafe group was having a retreat with her family and friends and had an extra space, and asked me to join them, yea me! The retreat center is above Forget-Me-Knots quilt shop, which provides excellent shopping opportunities. My first priority was making a baby quilt for my niece's new little girl Emelia. At home I had cut 2 1/2" strips from almost all my 1920-30's reproduction prints, pretty pastels with conversation prints, lots of little dogs, cats, chicks, geese, pigs, and children. I put them together in a simple rail fence pattern and added a border of fairy tail print with princesses and castles. Now, a month later I bought the flannel backing fabric, of butterflies, to get it quilted.
My big project for the week was a queen size star kit, that I had gotten for my other niece. All the nieces and nephews have baby quilts, and wall hanging/lap quilts. So now it is time for queen size bed quilts, as they are almost all adults now. She had wanted something modern and I had been looking at gray/black chevron patterns. Finding this kit was perfect, I seldom buy kits, preferring to make my own art patterns. It is a Hoffman kit called "Crystal Clear" and was all batik fabric, gray and white with turquoise accents. I figured it was paper pieced with all the points and angles. But imagine my surprise when I opened the box and it was all pre-cut pieces with number stickers on them. And DOUBLE SURPRISE there were NO DIRECTIONS!!! The box was marked that all the pieces were there, so someone must have opened it, checked off the pieces and forgot to put the papers back in the box. All I had to go on was the photo on the box :( I decided to give it a try, each section was marked A B C etc and they were in number order, it also helped that they had notches snipped in the seam to align the pieces. But I still had to figure how they went together, left to right or reversed, since it was all batik and reversible. I sturdily kept at it, making section by section and sewing for 3 days straight.
It was quiet a challenge and everyone was very impressed that I managed to figure it out, it was NOT easy at all. But preservation paid off. It did not go together well, it had some poofy spots, but the points matched well and it did eventually become one piece!
Wow! If I had not been at retreat I doubt I would have gotten it done. Also being the masochist I am, I decided to make another one for my other niece, in black, gray and magenta. I had traced all the pieces on freezer paper, cut them out and taped them together along the seam lines. I found several glaring mistakes in the pieces, and the way they went together, exactly where the poofy spots were. No wonder it was poofy. Then I used a light box to create a paper pieced pattern for each section. Having no directions I had to guess at the yardage, and bought the entire bolts of black and gray fabrics. I hope I have enough!
I got a good start on it at the retreat. The paper piecing is so much easier and so much more accurate. I should be able to finish it in a reasonable bit of time. We had a great time, going to the quilt shops in Port Orford, Charleston and Coos Bay. Out to lunch a lot and long walks on the beach and shopping in Old Town. The other ladies made some amazing quilt tops and it was fun to watch what they were doing. A week was a bit long, I usually do this retreat in a 3 day session, but it was worth it, and we scheduled for next year too. I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here check out what other talented artists are doing.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Catching Up is Hard To Do.

So Sorry, I have not been posting on my blog for a long time. I got behind and then it was difficult to catch up, and I'm not on my computer as much as I used too, etc... The excuses could go on and on, so lets just jump right in and forget about what we missed. The most fun part of my year was going to Craft Napa 2018 back in January. Four days of fabric, fun and art! I took 2 classes with Judy Coates Perez, I just love her work. The first was painting with acrylic inks, we painted "wet on wet" to make a light color background, then used foam stamps and other stamps to print patterns on the fabric. It was an all day class and another few hours in the evening, very intense!
Then the hard part, coming up with a design on the spot, from scratch, sketching, deciding and creating a pattern, this could have taken all day. Pressure!! I came through with a fern design, after sketching several types of curls, leaves and scallops. The pattern was more complex than most and I had to make it full size and cut it from freezer paper. We used the paper as a MASK, and painted in the remaining negative space with the dark blue and green, so the pattern was made from the lighter background printing we had done earlier. Adding detail with the inks and a paint brush did not go as well as I had hoped, but I finally accepted what I had done and thought the quilting would make up for it.
I thought of it as Ferns, but after adding the blue everyone kept saying sea weed, or undersea. So I went with it and added some fussy cut tropical fish, I did not want bright glaring colors, so choose a quieter blue-green fish to blend in and camouflage, except for the big dark eye spot, which makes them stand out. I also added some Swavarski crystals as bubbles coming up from each fish. The quilting made a lot of difference, I almost always use rayon threads for a little shimmer, stitching all the veins and outlines, with small stipples in matching colors in the background. It created a lot of depth that I had not be able to get with the detail painting.
My next class was also with Judy Coates Perez, her "Ephemera & Tea Bags" class. Lots of different techniques, put onto a background of her tea colored dyed fabric. This is a process photo as everything was laid out before all the assembly with mat gel medium. We started with a little thermo-fax screening, drawing on tea bags which were later painted with acrylic inks, then collaged with papers, napkins and other ephemera, then rubber stamps and stencils. It was a very busy day, lots of fun new techniques to try. I was concerned with making a cohesive theme, so tried to stay rather botanical, but she said we were just making a sampler of techniques. But her class samples had themes and color ranges and looked like they were planned rather than just a bunch of non related objects. I don't have a picture of the finished project yet. The gel medium leaves it just a bit stiff, but it will stitch through on the sewing machine just fine. I'm trying to decide if I want a border or just leave it as is, as art.
The last class was mono-printing, on different papers, with acrylic paints. We used small Gelli plates about 5 x 8 rectangles, and a brayer to apply the paints. She urged us to pick 3 colors so all our finished paper would have a cohesiveness to them and be able to be collaged together. I started with botanicals, ferns, heavenly bamboo, and others. She showed us how to make ghost prints and two color prints, and vary the similar prints, making a set. Then we used masks and stencils in a similar way. We used many types of paper, rice paper, old book pages, old music sheets, pattern tissue, brown craft paper, deli paper, tissue paper, and she had pages from a German dictionary and a Japanese one too. I made quiet a few prints, and switched to a different colorway about 2/3 of the way through. After lunch, to let everything dry, we began to collage a set of prints onto a canvas board with gel mat medium.
I made 3 collages, a large, medium and small. It was more fun than I thought it would be, to put them together and I am happy with the way they look. Although I have no wall space to hang them at my house. I plan on doing all of this again with fabric when I get home, the same techniques, just a different base. Then stitch the collage together to form a wall hanging. Craft Napa is loads of fun, some people remembered me from last year which was nice, we wandered thru different classes during the day, to see what we want to do next year, they had such a variety of art techniques and sewing, with wonderful teachers. I highly recommend it, tho I don't know if I'll be going again. The drive through the mountain passes from Southern Oregon at that time of year is rather nerve wracking, altho this year was better than last. My next big adventure this spring is an Alaskan quilting cruise with 6 ladies from my art group. Yea!! I'm so excited. I promise to be good and keep my blog updated from now on! I'm linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge on the right hand column or click here to see other wonderful textile artists.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Doing Nada

I've been in a mood lately, haven't done much sewing at all. Although with the Fyber Café arts group, we had a couple of workshops at my house this summer. We made felted wool, round vessels around oranges and limes and grapefruit. They came out great and we had tons of fun.
I got the idea from someone on the Off the Wall Fridays website, but can't remember who from, or find the website again, sorry, I'll give credit if someone informs me. We also had a painting day, doing aprons for our group to wear at events. I cut a stencil with my Brother Scan N Cut machine, of "FYBER CAFE" and we each put it on to the top of the aprons from Dharma. Also did printing, stencils, silk screens with acrylic on the aprons, using the paint as a resist.
The next get together we did ice dying on fabric and the aprons and some shibori/ indigo tied on pipes. The big news is I have cleaned up the "Man Cave" after the death of my husband, I have been putting this off. I want to use the basement room for dyeing, painting, printing, gelatin mono printing, stencils, as a wet studio. This incentive finally drove me to doing it, a month of sorting, cleaning, organizing, tossing trash(rusty nails, wood scraps) move the camp gear to the garage, and various other chores. I also cleaned out and painted a built in cupboard and decided to put new 12" adhesive vinyl tiles on the floor. The light tiles over the dark old stuff made the room brighter and seem bigger. I don't know what to do with the whole wall of bright orange pegboard, ha ha ha. For the future, I have to look forward to: Craft Napa in January, if it is still there after the fires, and a quilting cruise to Alaska in May with 8 artists from Fyber Café. That should get me back in the mood! I've been going up to Eugene with several other artists for the regional SAQA meeting once a month, with a lunch get together first. I'll link this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge to the right to see what other talented textile artists are doing.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Oz & Circles

I went to a four day Art Quilting Retreat on the Oregon Coast for 4 days. 5 of us went and had a great time, sewing and creating and visiting some good restaurants and quilt shops. I continued to sew circles to the background using my hand dyed fabrics. Since we had a big design wall to pin to, we tried to decide if we liked it vertical or horizontal. I am calling it Marble Madness, as the elementary school I drove school bus for had a Marble season, when the kids all played with marbles and collected them.
I decided to do a second one with some of the printed fabric I had made. They are all resist dyed fabrics, some soy wax, some potato starch, and other resists we tried at a dye class. I had a commercial batik to use for the background, and decided to wait and dye some indigo instead. That way I can say it is all hand dyed. I wanted to plan this one a little bit better, the 1st was just random, select fabrics as I went. So I set out the fabrics I wanted to use, and rough cut them into circles, lay out was more important, as I wanted the darker ones to recede and the brighter ones to be smaller and in the foreground. So we played around with arranging them for a while.
At the retreat one of the ladies wanted to do "Happy Villages" like some of us did last year. I had wanted to do another with the Emerald City as my theme. I took along an assortment of green fabrics, many of them had metallic gold on the printing. It was hard to limit the selection of fabric to 12 instead of 8 to 10. The lay out went quicker as I had experience doing it last year, but it still took hours. After dinner I added windows, doors and turrets.
The next morning I started on the yellow brick road, I had to sketch it several times, trying to get the perspective right. I began with the bottom, larger bricks, in a bright yellow "Fairy Frost" fabric on a brown batik. As I got higher and wanted to change the angle, we had a whole dialog about perspective, angles, vanishing points and horizon lines. It took us awhile to decide on the right way to get it done, and make it look good.
With the yellow brick road leading into the castle, everyone thought it pulled you right into the design. It took an immense amount of work. I did not want it to look cartoony, but not too realistic either, as the castle is not "Realistic." I did the bottom one brick at a time and as I went up I began cutting strips and will put the lines in with the thread painting.
I had gotten some grass fat quarters down stairs at Forget-Me-Knot quilt shop, each was a different height scale. I probably have them all already, but had not thought that far a head to bring them. I fussy cut the greener pieces from the fabric and as I progressed down I did not mind adding in more yellow tones and tan. I stopped at this point because I know at home I have several more grass fabrics that are the right scale and color. I plan on appliqueing some red/orange poppies at the bottom and adding the tips of some ruby slippers at the very bottom. It was very fun to do and see it grow. It took most of 2 1/2 days to get this far. You can get so much done at a retreat with out phone interruptions and spouse demanding attention. Two other ladies worked on their villages too, I will post them on the Fyber Café blog. I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here to check out what other textile artists are doing this week.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Machined Circles

I am always looking for a new project that I can use for my hand dyed fabrics. I keep dyeing more fabric and I get the mind set that it is too good to cut up. So having a project that makes me cut into the hand dyes is a good thing. So when I saw this simple way to set in circles and machine sew them, I was all excited. Pat G. and Lorraine in the Fyber Café arts group, took a class with Claudia Law, one of the things they learned was how to do these circles. I had seen it before on LeAnne Paylor's blog click here but I could not get my head around the concept. So maybe I can help it make sense.
Start with a double layer of freezer paper, ironed together, then trace your circle diameter. I have templates, but for the larger size I used a bowl, butter tub lids are great templates too. Cut out the circle and save the centers too. The smallest circle I've done is 3" you have to be able to pull all your fabric thru the center of the paper, or just rip the paper off when you are finished. You can try a smaller circle if your fabric is not too bulky. I made mine from 4 1/2" to 7" but you can certainly make them much bigger.
Iron the paper to the BACKSIDE of your background fabric, where you want the circle to be. Keep it well ironed in place.
Cut out the background fabric inside the circle, with a generous seam allowance. Then snip around the curve in the seam allowance. Use a glue stick on the paper edge and fold up all the snips.
Find the area on your circle fabric that you want to use, this is a great place to fussy cut. Use the cut out paper center as a guide and rough cut out your circle fabric with a 1" seam allowance.
Add a layer of glue stick on top of the glued snips, then set it onto your circle fabric, both fabrics right side up. Iron a bit to dry the glue.
Remember the first time you did paper piecing, and you had a hard time getting the idea that you were sewing on the paper not the fabric. This can bend your mind too, hopefully this will help. You are sewing from the TOP. With the fabrics both right sides up, peel the top layer back to the freezer paper edge. You will always stitch on the background fabric, right next to the paper. Do Not sew on the paper. The smaller your circle the more times you will have to stop with the needle down and pivot to get a smooth stitched circle.
Remove the freezer paper from the fabric, it is easier if your glue is not all dried. I have reused the freezer paper up to 3 times, until it tears, doesn't iron in place or gets too full of glue. Trim the excess fabric from around the seam. Flip over and iron from the front. It should lay very flat with no tucks or ripples.
You do not have to overlap your circles like I did. Have fun fussy cutting fabrics, or cut the circles out of patchwork pieces. I have another half yard of fabric to add circles to. My background is much darker than the photos show. A lot of the fabric I am using was ice dyed, or 3 layer parfait dyeing. I am going on a 3 day art retreat next week, with my art group to the Oregon Coast, whoopee! I am linking this to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here to see what other talented textile artists did this week.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Vintage Trailer Wall Hanging

I got all the little bitty 1 1/2" squares sewn together, and the narrow black and white check on the inner border. I had just enough of the check to do an outside border too. I have about a 1" x 2" scrap of the check, I used every last speck of it. The black and white helps tone the busyness down, from all the bright scraps. Since it is rainy today, I should probably go and find a piece of batting and start quilting on it. I am such a procrastinator. But I did make a pan of brownies, since the kitchen was cool enough to bake, and I did not have to worry about heating up the whole house on a hot day. I will link this to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here to see what other textile artists have been doing this week.