Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Rainbow Hens"

More true to life color, before quilting
The color is too cool/blue, it is really very warm, orangey, yellow, like the photo above

I love the title of this one, it evokes multi colored chickens, but is really a photo of one "Hen and Chick" succulent. It is a closeup, centered on the petals of the plant. It was a very blah, monochromatic picture, with sharp edges, good lines and graphic quality, but boring colorwise. I manipulated the colors in Photoshop, to get different color combinations, teal/lime green, orange/violet, and red/navy. I reversed the colors into a negative, and made peach/med. blue and yellow/purple, this gave a light center instead of dark, and the edges of the petals were the opposite color. I printed five photos, each a different color. I used my computer printer to print onto treated fabric, with a freezer paper backing. I heat set the fabric with my iron, and then decided the colors needed to be perked up a bit. I used crayola colored pencils to add color to the print. I started with the main color, adding brightness and saturation in the highlights, then I added darker colors to the shadows. I left the medium tones alone, but this added contrast between the highlights and the shadows. I cut each horizontal photo into 5 strips, 2" wide, I also cut 2" strips of my own hand dyed fabric, in coordinating colors, to make a sixth picture. I swapped all the pieces around until I had a pleasing, balanced composition with each color and one piece of hand dyed. I made a tracing of the pattern onto clear plastic and used a light box to trace it onto the dyed fabric. So that when I stitched the quilting I carried the pattern on to the area that did not have a photo printed onto it. It blended so well, most people don't even know that it is not printed. The assembly was done with fusible interfacing, and fused onto muslin, in a 2 blocks across and 3 blocks down setting. I used clear nylon thread to zig zag all the edges to the muslin. Rayon thread quilting in a rainbow of colors was used to outline and highlight the edges of each petal and to shade into the center. Darker colors were then used in the shadows, to give a lot of depth. It is one of my favorite "ART" quilts. It has an abstract quality to it, while still being a recognizable object, and the multiple colors disguise the object to make it abstract.

Lily From My Photo

Center stitching

Back stitching

Before stitching

The course of the summer I worked on several other projects. To use my photos in my quilts has been my goal for this year. I used a picture of a lily that I took at the Masters Gardener's Discovery Gardens. It is very large, similar to a "Stargazer" lily but not quite. I made a pattern from the photo by tracing an 8 x 10 copy onto clear plastic with a Sharpie pen. I scanned that into my computer and blew it up into a four panel (8 x 10) 16 x 20 I used raw edge applique to design the flower in shades of peachy/pink mostly Bali batik fabrics. The background is a sage green with gold splotchy areas and little specks of metallic gold. I added two flower buds to the composition, at the same diagonal line as the stems, to add continuity of line. The quilting was a challenge. I used four shades of pink/mauve/peach to thread paint and blend the color changes on the flower petals. I did not just outline them as I usually do. The rayon threads added a lot of texture and shine to the petals. The stems and leaves were done in several shades of green and the background in pale gray green with a small stipple. I used a black solid fabric for the back and changed bobbin thread to match the front stitching. This drew a gorgeous flower on the back in intense quilting stitches.

"To Nurture and Protect" Project

FIMO penguins I made to add to the bottom.
Almost done, need to add penguins and some other edge detail
Right side landscape, owl in tree and desert area
Middle landscape, forest and woodland
left side landscape, tropical

The Fyber Cafe challenge is almost done, we all got delayed, Thanksgiving & Christmas and personal issues. Hopefully in January the finished projects are due. We will still have to mount them on the stretcher bars covered with fabric. A few of the projects are coming along nicely, and others have good intentions, so we will see. I got the last details worked out on mine and today I finally got the backing onto it. I turned it "Pillowcase" style with an extra flap at the top to insert a piece of cardboard to support the circular design. I won't use the cardboard when stitched to the frame, but afterwards, I don't think I'll leave it on the frame. I top stitched all the way around the circle to give it a more finished edge. I have a few more bits and pieces to add along the edges, and some small areas that need to be covered, 'cause they came up short. The undersea area came out beautifully, I added silk ribbon embroidery, lots of beading, and regular floss embroidery, real seashells, it is busy with coral and embellishments. In the south pole area I added melted bits of turquoise chiffon, and streams of beads with white, pearl, clear turquoise, crystal and white snowflake buttons. The mixed group of beads flows across the bottom in waves. I found one pair of penguins earrings at Walmart but I had to repaint them, they were blue and sparkly. I made 3 extra penguins with FIMO clay, in black, white and yellow, I baked them too hot and the white got burnt looking so I had to repaint them too. I forgot to put button holes in them, so I'll just stitch them on around the necks. I can see the end of this challenging project. I put in a lot of detail, including a fortune in hand sewn beads and buttons. The non-traditional fabrics, velvet with cotton balls, silky polyester, glittery 1/4" netting, melted chiffon and wool needle felting, added to the whole concept. It is an exuberant expression of the environment and all the various creatures in it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

making progress

oops wrong pic again, the upper one is the landscape, before quilting, it goes left to right - tropical, forest, woodland, mountains, desert.

The Fyber Cafe challenge is making progress, I have gotten the major portion finished. The landscape section across the middle was the main focal point. I started with needle felting some pine trees on wool felt, I used various types of yarn, but they were all too lime green, and too high a contrast. I didn't have much selection in darker greens. I ended up using a medium green wool sliver and some dark green yarn with a sparkly core. I made rounder lollipop shaped trees with the felt also, but they look real clunky, they stitched down ok, but they are not my favorite part. On the left I made a palm tree, with a double layer of olive green fabric with fusible between. This allowed me to cut fringe on the palm fronds that won't come apart. When stitched down I curved the branch and this made it pop off the background in a good 3-D fringe effect. On the right side I added mountains, a mesa and cactus. The cactus are made with a light green felt, stitched with light green rayon threads, and then I hand stitched spines on them with darker green cotton thread. It is very delicate looking, and I added pink vintage rayon embroidered french knots, and yellow chain stitch flowers. Across the bottom I added rocks, sand, pebbles and some greenery, flowers and tufts of grass. I machine stitched it all with matching rayon threads to applique and quilt it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

wrong picture

oops wrong picture, could NOT figure how to delete it once it was in, not even from edit drafts. So here is the right picture, I hope. There we go.. an image of the sky, Angelina and blue velvet.

Working on the Challenge

Work has been progressing on the Fyber cafe challenge, with my sketch finalized I began on the North Pole/Sky area. I used a dark blue fabric with gold stars on it for the top. I am going to stitch on gold beads for the big dipper, after I get the edges done, it is too close to the edge. Next I used a shimmery white fabric and a glittery silver netting, for the "polar" area, it is tucked and textured, and has beads sewn on it, crystal and blue seed beads and bugles and some clear turquoise cubes. I need to finish sewing the beads after I get the Angelina sewn on. I used Angelina fibers in a wide wave for the Northern lights, they swirl across the white area and the blue sky below, I stitched it down with a shimmery silver thread. For the main sky layer I used a medium blue velvet with white areas, but I needle felted cotton ball fibers over the white to give it more texture. It needle felted just great into the velvet, it blends beautifully.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Removing Wax from Batiks

What a Chore!! Removing the wax from the batik fabric that I did at the workshop, was a real pain! I had made about 10 pieces, some of them had a lot of wax on them, by the time I had put on 3 layers. I layered the ironing board with about 6 layers of newspaper, a piece of wet, wax fabric, and 3 more layers of paper. A hot iron over the paper melted the wax, and it was absorbed into the paper, which had to be changed frequently. More paper, more ironing, change paper again. It took about 3 times with new paper to get most of the wax off. I made a mess! Waxy paper all over, wet dripping fabric and the plastic it was wrapped in. Now I can put the fabric in the washer and drier to get off the last of the wax. The soy wax is water soluble, but I want as much off of the fabric before hand as I can get, so it doesn't clog the plumbing, we have old problem pipes. As soon as the washer is done, remove the fabric, and while it is still warm, wipe the inside of the drier to remove the wax ring build up. I haven't had any problems with the drier, and the fabric comes out soft and pliable, with no stiff feel from leftover wax. Using old fashioned bees wax for batik is a lot harder to remove, lots of ironing with paper, and then boil the fabric on the stove, let it cool and remove the wax scum from the top of the water. This may have to be repeated and it still leaves a stiff feel to the fabric. You can also dip the fabric in gasoline(outside!) as a solvent to dissolve the bees wax, but I don't think I want to do that to my fabric!! But one of the ladies in my Fiber Art Group did that and it came out ok, I would worry about the fumes and the residue! When the fabric is washed I'll post photos of the finished product.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dyeing Workshop 2010

Our annual fabric dyeing workshop at Vera's was this weekend. We had loads of fun, even tho it got to 100' on Saturday, arrgh!! I was working on batik pieces that I had already waxed at home, and it was so hot, my cheap foam brush with the dye was rubbing the wax right off the fabric, what a mess. I put it aside at lunch time, and let it dry out back in the shade. During the afternoon I went down to her pottery studio- dye workshop, which had struggling air conditioning, and dye a quantity of fabric. I used a 3 layer technique, I start with one piece of fabric in a small tub, add dye, then fixative, then another piece of fabric, a second dye and fix, then a third layer. It helps if you don't stir the fabric, it blends and bleeds in some areas and not others, making a blotchy blend of colors on each piece. It is also fun to use very different colors, like eggplant(dark purple) +turquoise+ yellow gold. If you know your color theory you can kinda predict what it will make, but it is usually a surprise, cause you don't know how much it will blend or stay separate. These were my favorite types of dyeing to do. On Sunday we had it cooler, so I got to finish working on the batiks. I did about 10 pieces, they each got 3 colors layered on, with wax added at each step. The darker colors added last, really highlighted the lighter colors that I had waxed over. When I got home I ironed with lots of newspaper to remove some of the wax. It is a real pain to do, I still have more pieces to do later. The soy wax we used is water soluble with hot water and soap, but our plumbing is so old, I didn't want it coagulating in the pipes as the water cooled. I will finish it in the washing machine when I am done ironing as much wax out as I can.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Beginning Construction

I started with a full size freezer paper template, with an 18" circle drawn on it. I decided on the soft curves and spaced the layers, to flow across the sphere. This allowed me to see the size of the trees I would be working with, and how much of the sea/sky/polar areas.The earth/soil strip runs roughly at the equator, creating an equal amount of earth/sea. I colored the freezer paper with crayons, made dark lines for each section, and penciled in a lot of detail with quick sketches. Deciding to add animals or not was important. I didn't want them to look too cartoonish, but they are part of the eco-system, and I definitely wanted a few, birds or penguins, or fish/whales. So when I decided to thread paint them on top of the pre-printed cutouts, that made a big difference. Now as I work with my drawing, I think maybe the scale will be all wrong, and they would have to be too small. As I choose fabric for the Northern sky and a shimmering white for the polar snow, I needed to consider construction. I didn't want the dark blue seam to show, if I layered the fabric with raw edges. I decided to machine sew the curve seam, so the dark could be ironed to the back side. The snow and glittery netting needed to be crumpled up and stitched in place, so I needed to sew them to a muslin foundation. I also wanted to add beads to tack the folds in place, but the quilting needs to be done first. So I decided to add a thin white batting to the layer and quilt as I go. This way I can add the beads right away and not have to add all the detail at the last minute. Also my stitches to add parts won't show on the back, so I won't have to worry about it. Also the finished piece will be mounted on fabric covered stretcher bars, so no one will even see the reverse. I will finish it off on the back, but it won't show all my detailed quilting.

Monday, July 26, 2010

2010 Fyber Cafe Challenge

The theme for the new Fyber Cafe challenge is "What's My Line" We decided to do textile art work for an exhibit, we will prepare and then try to get into different galleries, venues and shows. We will mount them all on 24" stretcher bars with a silver/gray fabric background. The pieces will be no bigger than 18" and three dimensional and larger pieces will be mounted on an 18" cube. We were all given a sketch book to journal in, that will be part of the show. Sketching and writing in the journal is mandatory, to keep everyone on track with the deadlines, and to show your progress. I started sketching in my purse sketchbook and have had to transfer everything over to the larger journal, but as I did that I expanded and elaborated on my original design and theme, so it added something extra to the process. I was also able to sketch in color with pencils and crayons which I can't do in my purse book. My thought process went...."from a long line of fisherman, line of creative people, to gardener, nurturer of the land, mother nature holding a globe" My original sketch of mother nature with a globe, had crazy patch continents, arms and neckline with lace collar and sleeves, a calico dress, and hands supporting the globe. As I continued to sketch I wanted to be more abstract, so I changed patchwork countries to geographical features, lakes, mountains, grasslands, jungle, etc... I removed mother nature and just went with the globe, I abstracted it to swirled layers of trees, shore, underwater, sky and Northern and Southern polar areas. I might still keep hands cradling the globe, but that will be a later decision. I sketched a full size template on freezer paper and colored it with crayons. See photo above. Now I have somewhere to begin.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Drunken Flowers"

I finished my quilt of the flower photographs, it turned out beautifully. The title comes from the pattern name "Drunkard's Path" Lots of stitching, even in the background printed areas. I used 3 shades of thread in each area, in a random zigzag. The color came out quiet good, I think using the colored pencils helped, I had also started with the delphinium in the top corner, which is the lightest anyway. The flowers are - delphinium, columbine, bee balm, anemone, mallow, peony, lily of the valley, Stoke's aster and grape hyacinth.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Stitching a Photograph

Wow, machine quilting on the flower photos I took is amazing. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than it is certainly worth a 1000 yards of thread too. 8" blocks of "Drunkard's Path" pattern, so I am only sewing on half the 8" square, the amount of detail is overwhelming. I am stitching the outline, adding a little highlights, and some of the deeper shadows, but leaving the photo color to be the majority of the picture. Still I am using 5 colors of thread at least for each flower and 3-4 shades of green on the leaves and backgrounds. Each picture is a work of art all by it's self. On the columbine picture, in the lower corner, you can see the background texture of the corner pieces, I still need to quilt those areas. I love to use rayon threads, 'cause they have a beautiful sheen to them, this adds highlights and sparkle to an other wise dull print on fabric. The colored pencils also help jump up the color. I am debating about weather I need to get a different printer with more vibrant color capacity. Or if it is something I can do in photoshop to get better color. I have upped the hue and saturation and added contrast, like one book suggests, but the print didn't have half the color that it has on the screen. On the monitor the pictures just glow and the color is intense! Well back to the stitching.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Playing with photos

I've been busy playing with my photos on Photoshop Elements ver6, it is very intricate, simple to do simple things, but it does so much more! I decided to work through the lessons in the book, "Piecing with Pixels" by Hart & Campbell. My first project was making different colored textural backgrounds. I had a photo of some lacy seed pods, almost like babies breath flowers, it was very layered with fine lines. I played with the color, contrast, hue and saturation, I made a negative to get different color options, I was having trouble getting orange and yellow, cause it wasn't in my original picture. I chose matching colored flowers to go with the texture, red/yellow columbine, blue delphinium, red anemone, grape hyacinth, peach peony, lily of the valley, red bee balm, lavender mallow and a purple aster. I made a "Drunkards Path" quarter circle with the flowers, and the rest of the block with the texture. Instead of having to sew the curved piecing, it was all done on the computer. So I printed the 9 blocks onto fabric, that I had treated with bubble jet set, my printer ink lasted, yeah! They were a little dull, they look so brilliant on the computer monitor. So I added colored pencils to the flower pics. I used a lot of white, yellow and light flesh color, to add highlights to the light areas, and added dark blue, dark green, red and dark purple to the darker, shady areas, to define the contrast. This really perked up the pictures, I think the stitching when I quilt might cover up a lot of what I did though, so I will see if the extra work of coloring was worth it. I tried different arrangements of the Drunkards Path patterns, but with only 9 blocks there wasn't much choice, with 12 blocks I could have done a different setting. I pieced the blocks together in 3 x 3 rows, very simple, and decided not to do a border. I've layer batting and backing and have started to do the quilting. I am outlining and accenting with rayon threads, so we'll see when it is done. Stay tuned for more exciting quilting info.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jump starting the creativity

I have been very blasse about quilting the last month, I've done nothing, except take photographs and sort them on the computer, I did play with photoshop and got some really cool textures and color variations. I'll try to post a few. I did print several photos onto fabric of a "Hen and chick" succulent, close up, with color and value changes. Now to figure out what to do with them quilting wise. I'm trying to use the photos to jump start my creativity, I would like to use them in my quilts, or as patterns for quilts. I also have a collage of photos I am working on, with an old barn, trees, fences, rusty farm equipment and lambs in the foreground. I finally got some good sky/cloud photos, but they didn't print out very blue, I might have to enhance with paints or colored pencils, which would be fine with me too. A little extra red on the barn wouldn't hurt either. "Fyber Cafe'" group is doing a new project for a group exhibit. "What's My Line?" is the theme. I have been sketching in my notebook, which I carry in my purse, but I have to have an official "journal" for presentation, so I had to copy my sketches over to it. The journal is too big to carry in my purse. I had started on some ideas from a theme of "Color and Line" which I didn't like, but had finally gotten some ideas going. So switching up themes was difficult in mid stream. I finally got some ideas going and have expanded on them, so I think I have some viable ideas to work with. My purse notebook is usually done with ball point pen, rather challenging, to shade and color, so at home with a journal I got out the colored pencils and added color to some of the sketches. This adds a lot of options, tho I never have the color pencil I want either. When I choose the design I will finally do, then I will use paints, crayons, fabric swatches etc... So now I am back at the sewing machine, doing simple piecing for a baby quilt, but it has got me going again. And the sketching has got my creativity bubbling inside of me. So I see great thing ahead of me!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Finished TeePee quilt

I finished the TeePee quilt, and named it "A Room With a View" The quilting really added a lot of texture. I used rayon threads, and it is densely quilted with a raw edge applique technique. I used matching threads in most places for the applique. A recent article in Quilting Arts magazine, about thread painting, helped me to do the reflections in the lake. Instead of using just blue thread in the lake quilting, I used green and sand to reflect the mountains and shoreline, also used cream to add a little reflection to the Teepees in the back left edge. In the front I used a variegated brown rayon (light, med. and dark) to reflect the tree trunks and the deer. I filled in the remainder of the area with shades of blue. This added another layer of depth to the scene, and made it more realistic. The deer and eagle were stitched with a clear nylon zigzag, so that the thread did not hide any of the detail of the cutout pieces, yet secured them very well.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

TeePee Wallhanging

My next project, after the quilt show, is to finish up a wall hanging that I've had on the wall for quiet a while. It is a landscape, with a hand painted background, and mountains and trees and a lake shore. The background was painted with Tsukineco inks onto muslin, in blues with shades of violet and pink, the colors came out so nice, it looked like I could divide it in half and have a sky/lake reflection effect. I made a row of mountains, with several layers of trees in front and a sandy beach front. On the left, in the middle ground is a promontory with shrubs, a tree, grasses and two deer, on a beach with sand and rocks. A small island is on the right. It sat on my wall for almost a year. It needed something more in the foreground. The tavern I go to called the "TeePee" needed something for a fund raising auction, for their 50th anniversary party. So I decided to add a Teepee looking out over the lake, with a large pine tree, on the front right corner. This balanced the rest of the picture and gave it good depth, with several layers of land jutting out into the lake. I added an eagle in the top left corner, to balance the large pine tree and teepee. The teepee is muslin but I hand painted some shading on it, and several reddish symbols around the bottom. It is still being quilted with matching rayon threads.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

After the Quilt Show

The quilt show wore me out, working for the deadline really stressed me. I worked up to the last second adding items and details to my art quilt for the "Fyber Cafe" display. It turned out beautiful, tho I still wanted to add more stuff. So after the show I relaxed, cleaned my sewing room, it looked like a tornado hit it, all the bits and pieces everywhere. I sewed some very basic pieceing, for children's charity quilts. I call it zombie piecing, just feeding the pieces through the machine, one after the other, on and on. It can be very relaxing, mind numbing, but I feel like I am accomplishing something. I don't have to worry about matching corners, precision, or even colors too much. I made 75 blocks in a week and a half. The quilt guild is making some quilts for "Camp Millennium" the children's cancer camp, and we didn't have much time to finish them.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Roots" more pics

Here are a few more pics

"Roots" part IV

The Umpqua Valley Quilters' Show was last weekend, I managed to get my project finished with NO time to spare. It took all of my effort the last week, to concentrate on all the detail. I printed more photos to hang from the bottom, with the yarn roots. I tea dyed fabric to put on the back with fusible web, and wrote names and descriptions with a Pigma pen. My research at the last minute found 6 great-great grandparents photos. I had to put the names together with the genealogy, maiden names, and figure out who was who. I almost didn't add the extra photos, do to time constraints, but I am very glad I did. It added a finishing touch, as well as a link to further generations. I also added a few extra pics of grandparents, and places, like the old Wipperfurth farm in Germany. I need to find out what town it is in. I had the hardest time trying to find a picture of myself to fit into the knothole. I ended up with an early picture from around 30 years old, all the relatives pictures were the earliest I could find. So I decided not to use a current pic of myself. The detail on the quilt got to be overwhelming, I wanted to add everything I had put into the original sketch, each thread painted butterfly, each glass ladybug bead. The fern curl was one of the first things I put in my sketch, and the last thing I sewed, but it had to be there! I used the "Tube turners" and stuffed a bias strip with poly batting, it was tricky to get it stuffed and to curl nicely, hand applique was also difficult as I had to work around all the other finished stuff. The thread painted butterflies and dragonfly were done on a layer of tulle, and a layer of wash-a-way Solvy film. I used rayon thread, with a matching poly thread in the bobbin. They were outlined in black and highlighted with an iridescent pearl mylar thread. Sewn on with black thread on the body only, so the wings were free and 3-D. I added clear glass seed beads to the spider web to highlight it, the silver thread I used to stitch didn't show up very well, the beads added a lot of sparkle, also last minute. The two Steller Blue Jays were not entirely thread painted, they were fused applique first, then free motion quilted to outline and add detail. I used about 8 different fabrics on the jays, and 6 colors of rayon thread. I painted the black eyes and the white highlights on the eyes and face with acrylic paint. I added a touch of "Fray Check" on the eye to make it glossy. I figured if I had nuts in my tree, then I needed jays or a squirrel, I ran out of time on the squirrel. The fusible web did a mirror image on the bird, so I had to make a second one, the correct direction. I think having two blue birds at the top really balanced the design, one of the few things not in my original sketch. All of the 3-D leaves, trees, branches, and flowers, are one of the main features of the quilt, they ran through the middle level of the design, climbed the tree, and popped off the fabric, giving a real sense of depth. Depth was achieved several ways, I printed ferns and leaves onto the background with acrylic paint, then added raw edge applique with leaves stitched to the background, and finally 3-D leaves overlapping each other. Adding mushrooms, hand dyed cheesecloth moss and lime green velvet moss to the foreground added a lot of detailed layers. I had wanted to add more detail to the moss with silk ribbon french knots and green seed beads, but no time. I made the 3-D leaves several ways, I used fabric fused front and back to itself, for a stiff, but thin flexible fern frond, I stitched it only on the stem and left the leaves loose. For the trillium and vine on the tree, I stitched fabrics wrong sides together and turned them right side out, for a two sided leaf. These leaves had more thickness, and stitching added detail veins and highlights. Of coarse the mushrooms were the best, I made round yoyos for the tops, and took a little tuck in the back edge to make more of a cone shape instead of a flat disk. Most of the stems were stuffed with pipe cleaners, and gave them stiffness and flexibility. I tucked them into moss, and also stitched at the top edge of the cap to attach them. I had gotten 3 small rubber frogs that I sewed onto one shelf mushroom, and two other regular mushrooms, they were very cute!! Can you find them in the photo? The purple flower on the left has two layers, darker purple behind the top lavender petals. Seed and bugle beads in yellow are dangled from the inside with a round purple glass bead at each end. I embroidered the detail veins on the petals with vintage rayon embroidery floss. I finally added a few purple and white silk flowers to balance color and fill in some blank spaces, they are all attached with a seed bead. The only part I didn't like, is the bottom edge where I attached the yarn roots, the edges are all cut and stick up. I want to put some small antique bone beads over the raw edges, to give it a more finished look. The zig-zag bottom edge worked great, I only had so much tree fabric and the roots only reached so far, so I trimmed it that way on purpose. I like the effect it made of blending into the ground below. A straight edge would have been too abrupt.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Baby, portrait quilt finished

Baby and BJ pose with her quilt

I finished the quilt of Baby, the stitching really helped define the doggy. I used a dark grey rayon thread, I didn't want to use black thread because it is a white dog and the contrast would be too high. A bright pink binding finished it off, to match the pillow color. BJ's favorite color is pink anyway. She was so surprised on her birthday, she was almost in tears, Baby is getting up there in age, and is very precious to her.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Roots" challenge, part 3

I got all my photos printed onto treated fabric, took a while to figure out the family tree. I applied them with fusible interfacing and zig zagged around them with clear nylon thread, I never trust fusible to stay permanetly. I stitched the roots down with rayon threads, making sure not to quilt the folds down, and to leave as much texture as I could. I hand lettered names and dates of the photos, trying to get as many maiden names for the ladies as I could, so it can be followed back another generation. I tea dyed the fabric so it wasn't glaring white fabric. I have some older photos of people, family? I'll talk to my dad when they come to visit. The extra older photos, and some place photos, I'm going to add to the bottom, and dangle them with yarn "roots" off the bottom edge. I'm also going to add my photo to a knot hole up on the trunk of the tree, haven't chosen a photo yet. Don't know if I want to go young, 3-5 years old or current age, something newer. I've started to work on the foliage and the detail now. I made some ferns, with two layers of batik fabric fused together, I then stitched the stem and veins, and cut out the individual leaves, I was going to use a scrap book scissors with zig zag edge, but it wasn't sharp enough. Same with my ancient pinking shears, DULL! Can't remember when I used them last, ha ha ha. I looked up trillium in my wildflower book, they have very interesting veining on blue grey leaves, I made them with two layers of batik fabric, turned right side out, not fused, then stitched with rayon thread. They look very textured and wavy. I will make the white flower petals the same way. They also need a yellow center pistals, probably use yarn. the foliage detail is going to be fun. Next stuffed mushrooms and shelf mushrooms, and lots more simple leaves.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tree photos

Oops, hit the wrong button, forgot the photos

Fyber Cafe Challenge, part II

Getting started on the challenge project has been fun. I painted a large piece of muslin with Tsukineko Inks, in a water color wash technique in emerald green, celadon green and a little forest green and some splatters of rust. It was a mid range value, but faded to a light green when it dried. I wanted something more colorful, but I'm happy with the results, cause the center glows and it was light enough to print on, without the printing being too dark. I used green acrylic paint to stamp fern leaves onto the fabric, and because it is winter, I used a variety of silk leaves to scatter in the upper corners, and around the fern leaves. The silk leaves printed very well, I was afraid they wouldn't have enough detail, I used a foam brush to apply paint, and pressed them down by hand with a paper towel. They are very subtle for a background, I'll be applying applique leaves and ferns over them, but they will add a lot of depth when quilted around. The tree trunk fabric has been interesting, I choose a Bali batik in rust, browns with tan swirling lines, and a matching color print that looks like a comb was dragged through the paint. One of my books said to texture the fabric, twist it up into a knot when wet and let it dry over night. This gave it a nice wrinkled texture and you are suppossed to iron interfacing to the back to keep the wrinkles, but it was too flat for that. So I cut pieces of interfacing, traced my trunk and root sections, and manipulated my fabric into folds and wrinkles in small sections with my fingers and pressed with a small "Clover brand" iron. This gave LOTS of texture, I stitched free motion with rust rayon threads and flipped the folds back and forth, it will need lots more stitching, and embellishing with moss, beads, etc. I also made long tapered strips for roots to fit my sketch. The photos are ok, but not sure about the color, I think you can see the folds and stitching. Next came the photos to be tucked into the roots, I couldn't finalize the roots with out knowing how many photos and where they would go. I searched Dad's picasa photo albums on the web for old family pictures, he has pics from all my great grand parents and also a log cabin in the Wisconsin woods and the old Wipperfurth farm stead. I got my parents wedding photo too, and decided to add a photo of myself in a knot hole high up on the tree trunk. Haven't decided which photo of myself to use tho. I'd like to add a blue jay and a squirrel to the picture, if you have nuts in the tree, they will be there ;-) Maybe at the last minute if I have time to thread paint them, ha ha ha. So I am making progress, I haven't decided if I want to attach the tree and roots first or add more stitching now. The greenery will be next, 3-D leaves and flowers, I want to make little stuffed mushrooms, shelf mushrooms on the trunk, and I have some really nubby lime green fabric to use as moss.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fyber Cafe Challenge, part I

Fyber Cafe is a textile arts group I belong to in Roseburg, Oregon. We have about 15-20 members, of all sorts, dyers, weavers, spinners, quilters, wearable arts, costumers, mixed media, etc... The Fyber Cafe 2010 Challenge is "Roots", so I have been sketching in my notebook/journal/sketch book whatever you call it. We need to have a project done for the Umpqua Valley Quilt Show in April. My main focus has been photographs on fabric of old family pictures, with the roots of a tree surrounding them. I have been having so much fun with Photoshop Elements, that I want to do something photographic. I have a lot of tree photographs, but nothing with "roots", there are other "root" definitions in the dictionary, but I keep coming back to family. As I sketched I wanted to add the top of the tree with current photographs, but that sketch got to be a very big project. So I scaled back to just the bottom of the tree, with lots of ferns, mushrooms, leaves, and wildflowers. The tree had to be very textured, with moss, and bark, lots of stitching, maybe some beads for texture too. I penciled in a full size drawing on a roll of newsprint that I have, when I liked the results I go back over it with a black "flair" felt tip marker, to make more finalized lines, and really see what I have done. Next was the BIG box of Crayola crayons!! I have to have the big box!! It was one of my favorite memories from Christmases past, getting a new big box. I laid in some basic color blocks, brown trunk, green leaves, roots and places for the photographs. Pinning the sketch up on my design wall to stare at for a while is always recommended. I was seeing a pattern in the roots that I wanted to emphasize, mostly in the negative space. Adding the crayon to make the contrast from dark roots to light background brought out the negative space, the roots were weaving together to form diamond shapes, where I am now going to place the photographs. So now the major design ideas are in place, I am looking at my drawing, thinking that if I want to do this level of detail I better get my butt in gear and get started. Next installment, painting the backing fabric and textureing the tree trunk with photos of the starting process.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

BJ's Baby Portrait

OOps.. downloaded 2 pictures of the sketch

I am making a small wall hanging with a painted portrait of a friend's dog for her birthday. i started with a small photograph, scanned it and enlarged it. Then I made a sketch on clear plastic sheet of the picture, then scanned the sketch and enlarged that one. I try not to make dog pictures larger than life size, so I kept to a small 8" x 10" format. Next I traced the sketch onto muslin with a permanent fabric marker and painted it with acrylic paints. I used Elmer's school glue to outline baby, then painted the teal background, this acted as a resist so the paint wouldn't bleed onto the white dog. The school glue is washable, so to remove it I soaked it in soapy water, but because I had not heat set the acrylic, a lot of the color washed out too. I wasn't sure if the ironing would affect the glue or not. Next time heat set first, then wash out. I had to repaint a lot of the background color. Painting the dog was a challenge, because she is basically white, but I added some beige paint and got nice shadow and texture. After I quilt the eyes and nose will get a dab of "Fray Check" seam sealer on them, this gives a glossy "wet" look. The pink "pillow" is really her arm in the photograph, but looks ok like a pillow, when it is detached from the photograph. I usually quilt with dark gray thread, but I am considering a beige/tan thread, cause I don't want it to be too dark when I stitch in the face. I've downloaded the original photograph, the sketch, and the painted, but not quilted fabric. Quilting will give it a lot of detail and texture. This has been a fun little project. I am sure BJ will be surprised and very happy, she loves her little "Baby"

Sunday, January 3, 2010

January 1, 2010

Resolutions time! I always start the new year with the resolution, to finish 2 projects for every new one I start, and then to finish the new ones too. I do pretty good for a while, finish small things or almost done items, those that are closest to being finished are my favorite, almost instant gratification. I've put a lot of work into some of these things, that have been sitting around for a while, some just need quilting, some need borders or assembly, some need lots of work. I have a "to do" list with current or older projects, that I cross off as I do them, or move them up to the "to Quilt" list. Last years list had a respectable amount of red lines crossing items off the list. It feels REALLY GOOD to finish something!!! I am a great starter!! I love to move onto the the next project, next piece of pretty fabric, next technique to try, my mind is always rushing on to the next thing. I do have lots of patience however, and I will get compulsive about the tedious parts, if I really want something done, but it is easy to distract me. Having the long arm quilting machine has really helped. I can finish some of the larger projects, sets of old blocks, scrap quilts that kept getting larger, round robins that got too big to quilt on my regular machine. So after Christmas, most of my deadline stuff is done, so I just wanted to do some basic piecing. I found a set of blocks from a snail mail trade of "Hole in the Barn Door" blocks with a light blue on white china pattern in the center. I had traded them in 1997-98 and had 20 blocks, with signatures and dates. I added sashing and borders and finished a nice large quilt top, ready to quilt, when I can find 5 yards of backing fabric. Then I got out a set of blocks from a secret pal exchange, also snail mail from 1998, these went together with sashing and corner stones, and borders. When I received the blocks I had went out and bought 2 yards of matching hummingbird fabric, I know I have it somewhere!!! But do you think I could find it? After 2 days of searching, I gave up and used a pansy print, that was a close match to another fabric in the blocks, same manufacturerer and colorway. The sashing is purple, the blocks have gold and lavender, purple and violet. The piecing was very relaxing, something I hadn't done in a while, no stress, just passing the fabric through the sewing machine. I need that sometimes, just mindless sewing, routine and boring. So now I have 2 tops ready to quilt, yeah! So much for my earlier blog about being creative and getting the juices flowing. I do like traditional quilting, it is what got me involved in quilting in the first place. I also especially like vintage fabric and blocks, and 1920's reproduction fabric, in traditional settings.