Sunday, January 29, 2012

Look at this blog

Look at this blog of free motion quilting ideas, this lady is a genius.

Beach Boy

I have worked on a second figure for the beach scene, the little boy with the sand bucket. He had a baseball style shirt which I really liked and a bright green plastic bucket. It took me 3 days, off and on again, to work on him. I used the fusible web technique to bond the back of the pieces, this will create sharp edges for the figures. The raw edge applique technique, which I usually do, makes "eyelashes" of little loose fibers when it is sewn. It is good for organic things like trees, but I want a crisp edge with people, especially on the faces. It is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together with all the little pieces, and trying to leave a little bit for seam allowances where they tuck under one another. The boy & bucket has 54 pieces, and is 9" tall and 8" wide. The other figures will be much simpler, they are farther away and less detailed, some will only be 6 or 8 pieces.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fun in the Sun

I have designed a beach scene for a quilt, using several photos I took at Bastendorf beach and several other places. One of the books I read on making patterns for quilted people was inspiring. I had always made quilts of people I knew, I had to get the right photo/pose and want to do that person. But the book put the notion in my head, that it wasn't who you knew, but to tell a story with the body language. I took a lot of photos of kids playing at the beach, two teens skim boarding, boys running, and a girl in the water, also a cute little girl in a turquoise jumper. At another trip to the beach we passed a little boy with a bucket bending down to play with the sand. I added several other small touches, a kayaker, a dog swimming with a ball, and my friend kite flying. I created a small beach scene with all the figures, trying very hard to get the perspective right, as the figures moved further down the beach. I added a friend's dog "Tarza" to the main group of figures around a sand castle. I made sketches and enlarged them on the computer, and flipped a few of them left to right. I had the copy shop make a larger print of the finished drawing so the detail on the figures wouldn't be too small to work with. It looks like a fun scene, with every one playing in the water and sand. I started to work on the one figure of the turquoise girl with "Wonder Under" fusible interfacing. Finding contrast with the background beachy sand will be a challenge and to find a good water print I like. This will be a longer term project as I do one figure at a time, and search for background fabrics.

Twisty Pointy Bags

For Christmas presents I made some small drawstring bags. I found a pattern for a Japanese bag, where the first part is sewn as a windmill, and the sides swirl up on the bias, it results in points of fabric at the top. It recommended cutting off the points and sewing on loops for the drawstring. I said "no way!" the points are the best part. I had remembered seeing somewhere, a finishing technique where the points were folded over and a channel made for the cording. I finished my bag with this method and love the results. I showed the bag at our textile art group meeting and everyone loved it and wanted to make them at the next meeting. So I made a handout with directions and everyone brought fabric and a few sewing machines. My first bag was made with a faux-sashiko technique on indigo fabric. I used Jacquard De-colourant, in a small needle tip bottle, through a stencil I made small dashes to make a pattern to imitate the Japanese stitching technique. One of the strips did not bleach out very well, so I made an extra piece by printing small maple leaves onto the fabric with the de-colourant. I love this one the best, it is for me! I made several others for presents, some with four strips, some with narrower 8 strips, in a variety of prints.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ghost Tree, in progress

"Ghost Tree" in progress. I started this quilt by playing in Photoshop. I blended a photo of a bare branched oak tree with a cloudy sky. In blending mode I used several options to change the effects and the colors. I also used a negative, which gave me white branches on a darker background. I printed several photos onto treated fabric with my computer printer, and spent a lot of time just admiring them, before I figured out what I wanted to do with them. I decided to use them for a background, as they are sort of foggy, blurry, ghost images, very ethereal looking. I pieced them traditionally with a sashing, but not in a symmetrical pattern. This added a grid, to contrast with the flowing lines of the branches. I really admire the trees in the book, "Nature's Studio" by Joan Colvin, because of their organic flowing textures on the bark and branches. So I decided to use a large tree over the tree photos in the background to keep the theme going. I used light fabrics to give it a ghost like appearance. There is not a lot of contrast, but I hope that quilting with white or light threads will help define the tree against the background, and add more highlights and a glow to the tree. I was going to add an eagle to the top left corner, to balance the tree. But my niece loves owls, due I think to the "Harry Potter" movies, so I found a Dover book of "Birds of Prey" with very nice line drawings of eagles, falcons, owls, etc... The eagle picture was perching, but the flying owl pic was just right. I especially wanted the wing tips to extend into the border, and be individual feathers, quilting it will be a challenge. I have started to quilt this with rayon thread, and it lightens it up and gives it a sheen. I can't figure out how to quilt the background, I think it will be just to sit down and let my fingers decide intuitively what it needs.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The New Year, 2012, part II

My usual New Year's resolution is to finish two old projects for every new one I start, and to finish the new ones that I do start too. This has done me well in years past. It has encouraged me to complete projects that have been around for a long time, sometimes YEARS, and others more recent. It also slows me down on starting something new, with out really thinking of where my time is best spent. I tend to jump into new projects with increasing frequency, something will catch my attention and I just HAVE to try it right NOW!! This is ok if it is just play time with new materials or techniques, but then I always want to make a project of my new ideas or samples. This creative impulse is FUN, but I have to show some restraint, or the project I put so much time and attention in to, will just sit in a bag and clog up my sewing room. Now that it is clean, I want to avoid that. My Christmas present to myself was to get my blog published into a book. The advertisement kept popping up on my blog, and I thought since it was the end of the year, it was a good time to do it. I have been blogging for 2 1/2 years, about my quilting, inspirations, creativity, photography and photoshop. I have really enjoyed the writing and sharing my thought and photos with everyone. I don't have many followers, but it doesn't matter to me, it is about expressing myself and sharing my quilting experiences. The book came quickly and I just love it. They did a beautiful job of it, the paper is beautiful and shows off the photos very well. They added a table of contents, and I got to choose the front and back cover photos and add a dedication. I am just thrilled, and very proud of it, everyone who has seen it, loves it, I just wish my Mom was here to share it with her. It has a few typos, and the photo captions, didn't always stay with the photo, but those are my mistakes, I wasn't planning on publishing when I was just blogging. So I highly recommend it to other people who blog, it is a permanent record of your thoughts and writing.

The New Year, 2012

2011 was a challenge to get through, I'm glad it is done! I am looking forward to the new year, lots of exciting art projects and creative people. My first challenge was to clean my sewing room. We had new windows put in the house so I had to clean and remove everything from one wall and half the next, so the window guys could get in. I spent 3 weeks before hand, rearranging, cleaning, going through STUFF! Sorting, filing and getting rid of stuff. Putting something in a shoe box and labeling it, isn't good enough if you have no place for the shoe box. The furniture was moved, including my sewing table, argh, filth behind it all. Cleaning, new windows and painting the available wall and window frames took up the next two weeks. Next on the list was to make curtains for a big double window and the side window. I had a bolt of fabric with big pastel roses and lilacs on it from a garage sale. There were 9 yards on it, so after pre-washing it, I had enough for 4 panels. I made 3 panels for the double window and one for the side. It looks so clean and new and light and bright. I can see out the window at the birds in the bird bath, I can't wait for the Stellar Magnolia to bloom right out side my window, with daffodils and crocus below it. I also have a view of the big lilac bush, and some iris and tulips. Spring can come anytime! Another two weeks of cleaning continued to make the place usable. Getting rid of more stuff, sorting and putting stuff where it belongs. I got the whole floor around my big desk cleaned up, lots of bags of miscellaneous stuff, the half finished projects on the ironing board, and most important my work space table. I can now do some "ART" with some elbow room! :) This was NOT a New Year's resolution, but it became one. The feeling of cleanliness and order is wonderful, I can now mess it up again, clutter, paints, buttons and scraps, rubber stamps and thread, the list is endless. Maybe, I can then put it all away where it belongs?