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.