Saturday, December 26, 2015

Zentangle Hexagon Ornament

The Quilt Rat, Jill Buckley created these wonderful Zentangle doodled hexie ornaments. See her blog post click here and part two, with a video and here I think they are the most wonderful designs, she has even shared a pattern you can print. Thank you Quilt Rat! I even got to use my new toy, acrylic hexagon templates that I got at the Second City Quilt Shop in Chicago last summer.
I traced the pattern on white cotton, with a mechanical pencil, for fine lines, and the 1" hexies onto manila folder. If you are worried about transparent paints, use white index cards. I thought about assembling the hexies first and then painting, my usual approach, but decided to use her way. I taped individual hexies on my plastic covered work surface. I thought the aloe gel idea to use with the paints was very intriguing. I put on a thin layer of aloe and used red liquid acrylic paint from Americana. The paint went on so smooth, straight from the bottle. No bleeding, I normally would have had to water down the paints to get a smooth application. I painted all seven hexies with red, before rinsing my brush. I had difficulties using the yellow paint, because the aloe gel had dried, frowny face. I added some gel to the green paint, and it went on smoother. So lesson learned, finish one hexie with all 3 colors, before moving on to the next one.
My paint was more opaque than the ones she used, so I had to go over my lines again with the Pigma pen, but that was no big deal. The before and after re-inking picture, show the importance of the lines.
Putting the pieces together, I used Elmers glue to hold the seam allowances, I had to wait for each seam to set, before moving on to the next one. I need to check and see what glue she used, the Elmers was not the best choice. I am used to sewing/basting the seams around the cardboard and then popping out the card. I thought about doing that, assembling the 7 pieces, and then painting. But this way you can trace the pattern easily, and you are leaving in the card. I found it difficult to get my stitches through the fabric with the glue and paint on them. But the paint stabilizes the bias, a definite plus.
The almost finished ornament, I still need to sew a few pieces. I added green to my color choices, because I do see this as a tree ornament. I want to add a backing fabric, I don't know how she finished the back of hers, so I have to think on this a minute. I would definitely make more, they were a little more time consuming than I first thought, but well worth it. The only change I would make is my glue choices. Thank you "The Quilt Rat" for the wonderful tutorial and pattern. click here for her blog

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 talented textile artists are doing.

Recovering Studio Chair

During last weeks studio cleanup, I found a large piece of upholstery fabric. My poor beat up bedraggled chair needed recovering. I had a towel thrown over it. I have recovered it before, but the fabric was all worn through in several places. Notice the front right corner, worn clear down to the metal edge.
I don't think the fabric is bark cloth, though it looks like it, it is too heavy, perfect for my chair. I made a large oval with a draw string, very simple. I got out the shoe polish box and found some nice sturdy shoelaces to use. I did add a little more batting to it, a layer of poly for softness, and a layer of cotton batting for sturdiness. I am so happy with my new chair! It was a quick and easy Christmas day project. Merry Christmas to every one in Bloglandia.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Creating Chickens

To start creating chickens I first had to find my "Feather" fabric. This was challenging due to the fact that it was all mixed up with my landscape fabrics, trees, leafs, rock texture, tiger fur, coral reef fabrics, a huge collection of fabric I had collected to make my scenes from my photos. I started sorting into cardboard photo boxes from Michael's. Yea! they were on sale. I pulled out all the fur, tigers, zebra, leopard, snake skin textures and put them in a box and labeled it. I am very organized, most stuff is boxed and labeled, but it doesn't do you any good to make a box if you have no where to put it. My shelves are full, could it go back where the fabric was, of coarse not, that was overflowing. Next the feathers, not as much as I thought, and some of it was blue, orange and green, not really going to work, except maybe for a parrot. Scale is also important, most of it was too big to make my chickens.
I made two chickens, using textural fabrics, not much of the feather fabric. I think they will look great with stitching/thread painting. I am waiting on the others, until I decide what the background will be, that will influence the chickens, either I make them a dark value or a light value, so that they stand out and don't blend in.
Next is the search for chicken wire fabric, I just knew I had some. But this occasioned a sort through and clean up of the next area of my sewing room. A big stash of fabric with "objects" on it. Birds, Easter eggs, alligators, cats, John Deere tractors, marbles, dinosaurs, elk, salmon, butterflies and dragonflies, etc... etc... It went on and on, more sorting, more boxes, decisions to get rid of the stuff for children's quilts. Cut up the children's prints and use them for charity baby quits. I spent two days, cleaning and sorting fabric, but the chickens only took 2 hours to make. And I never did find any chicken wire fabric. So a trip to Joann's Fabrics, and the Quilt shop downtown, no luck, but I did get a white fabric with 1" hexagons on it. I can dye it or paint it, add fence posts, and when I stitch it, I can add a wire texture, so I am brain storming this option. I'm gonna brave the Christmas shoppers and go to WalMart tomorrow to get prescriptions, so I'll check there for the fabric too.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Playing with Chickens

Years ago, I prayed that they would make home copy machines. I envied businesses that had thier own machines. I used to run down to the copy store all the time, to reverse, or enlarge my drawings and patterns. Yea! now home computer printers and Photoshop programs do that and so much more. I traced some chicken photos onto clear plastic sheet protectors with a Sharpie marker, copied it into my computer, and printed out an assortment of chickens.
First I played with them on my drawn pattern, moving them around and arranging them in different ways. I decided some needed to be reversed, so they look into the scene, not out of it, and some needed to be larger or smaller. Getting the scale right is important to me, and they need to be in the right perspective, this all helps to give the picture depth. I like the large one in front, I think she will be off the edge into the border, or into an uneven edge, if I don't end up using a border. The two in the back are smaller for distance. This is why I love my printer, I can make them 120% or 80% of the original size or any thing in between.
I did my final placement on the fabric, ending up with 5 chickens instead of 3. This makes more work, but also adds complexity to the design, you can just see her sitting amid her chickens, trying to fly, with feathers in her hand. Now the fun part, picking out fabrics! I am now officially on Christmas Break, I drive school bus, so I can give lots of attention to my quilting, and maybe get this ready to quilt.

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 wonderful textile artists are doing for the holidays.

Carving in December

While checking some blogs that I follow, I found Terri Stegmiller's post about Lino Carving click here She does some wonderful stamp carving, and she inspired me to break out my box of supplies. I keep picking up another chunk of "Moo Carve" every time I go to Eugene or any where else that has an art supply store. It is a soft carve-able material in gray, that is thick enough, that I can carve both sides, giving me more economical material. I haven't really done anything with them yet, but I like making them. The inspiration will come for a project eventually. I had a 4" block that I cut down to four, 2" x 2" blocks.
I carved a quarter pattern on each section, so that when stamped like a tile, you have the whole pattern. I think they came out pretty good for a first time, but I can see where I have to line up the lines better where they meet the edge. But it has a rustic hand made feel to it. I will eventually use fabric paints on fabric, not the ink on paper, sample I printed.
My pink ink pad was running out of ink, but they printed alright. Also check out Julie Balzer's blog click here on the left column, she has a section of stamp carving posts and info, she is a wonderful designer, and makes stencils too. She has a challenge called "Carve December" where you make a new carving every day. I don't think I have that much material, but I also like to carve Dollar Store packs of erasers.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

International Painters Exhibit

Friday night, I got off work, rushed into the bathroom at the drivers lounge, changed into a nice blouse and did my makeup. I picked up Clare and Pat W. and we raced up to Eugene, Or. in the pouring rain. The Emerald Art Gallery in Springfield was exhibiting our International Painters Challenge. They were having their 2nd Friday Art Walk & Artists Reception, the place was packed. My munchies that I brought, chocolate trail mix clusters were gone in under two minutes.
The challenge had 30 U.S. artists, 30 from France and 30 from Japan. One person from each country was assigned an artist, for a total of 90 quilted wall hangings, 19" square. They were displayed as a set, an artist with an artwork from each country, on a black fabric background. It was really interesting to see how each textile artist interpreted the painter. Mine is the top Leonardo da Vinci piece, you can see how I made it here and here.
Mucha by American artist and curator Linda Steller, she coordinated the U.S. artists, and has arranged for the entire collection to be exhibited at all the American Quilt Society shows in 2016. So it may come to your area, please go see it.
Cezanne was interpreted by Sylvia, from our Fyber Cafe group. It has pieces of hand dyed silk, that she dyed with this project in mind.
Many of the pieces had 3-D elements, as this Degas artwork by a French textile artist.
Beads and sequins added extra sparkle to this art work, by a Japanese artist.
All of the Klimpt pieces were richly done with gold metallic fabrics and lots of beading. I especially liked the way the face was painted/transferred.
The French version of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper.

Monet's water garden was done in hand dyed fabrics, strip pieced by the U.S. artist and 3-D silk waterlilies, with organza flowers from France.
I really liked the beautiful color on this Georgia O'Keeffe flower and the detailed thread work, from the U.S.
Renoir's flower girls were wonderfully collaged from floral fabrics.
Tokaido's trees in the fog, was the most similar of two works by the same artist. All the others were completely different as the textile artists interpreted each painter from a different point of view, the 3 Klimt's & Mucha's were also the most similar style wise.
Warhol's style in different colors ways, was great, it reminded me of my Golden retriever. The thread painting was well done and unique to each section.
The layers of tulle and other shears gave this Wyeth painting the beautifully blended contours of the woman. I was impressed with the technical aspect of how this was achieved. There were many more wonderful art works, but I can only show you a few that caught my attention the most. The gallery was a wonderful place and I thank them for the excellent job they did to display everything. A bunch of us from the Roseburg area then went out to dinner at the Plank House Pub, and I got fresh steelhead with mushroom Marsala and roasted hazelnuts, it was fabulous. It was also interesting to see the "big" city atmosphere of a collage town, with the variety of people all conversing loudly, and enjoying a late Friday night out. Roseburg as a small town, tends to shut down early. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse in the World Painters Challenge, please see it if it comes to your area.

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 talented textile artists are doing this week.

Friday, December 4, 2015

She Flies With Her Own Wings

"She Flies With Her Own Wings" is the challenge theme for our Fyber Cafe textile arts group. It is the Oregon State Motto. My cousin's granddaughter loves her pet chickens, and I thought she would want to fly with them if she could. So I asked her mother to take a few photos of her with her hands out to the side, sitting on the lawn. I'm going to put feathers in her hands and chickens in the background.
I enlarged the photo and traced it onto clear plastic to make a pattern. In Photoshop I printed it in poster mode to get a 2 x 2 sheet for a pattern. With cropping, it comes out to 18" x 24" when I add extra width for the feathers. I worked on the flesh tones first, I have an assortment of 8 x 10 fabric gradations, in pink to beige to tan brown hand dyes. I picked them up at a quilt show just to do faces with. I've added a few pieces of Kona cotton and others to give me a wider range. Next I want to try dyeing my own fabrics for this purpose, I love to do portraits. I used a clear plastic outline of the face to get the positioning just right. With this type of pattern I use the fusible instead of raw edge applique, because I need exact shapes. Wonder Under fusible interfacing gives me sharp outlines with little raveling.
Working on the blouse and skirt next, I followed the colors in the photo. The left side shadow will be changed, that fabric has too much contrast. Making the skirt I used some vintage fabric hexagons, so I folded the one edge and overlapped it with the first piece of fabric, to look like folds in the skirt. Instead of looking like my fabric pieces were too small.
I hope the black lace gives the folded skirt more dimension too. I had enough to put along the bottom edge also. A 1/8" pink satin ribbon will be embroidered at the gather point of the blouse and tiny buttons added. The grass is beginning to come together. I have collected landscape prints for quiet some time, so I had a variety of grasses in several sizes to give depth to the picture. I still need to find some cute chicken pictures to make a pattern from, to put in the background.
I had two fabrics, a gray and black colorway of feathers, I cut them out and made them shorter and narrower, and I also want to get some real feathers to embellish with. Thread painting will help the fabric ones look more real. So I am making progress, the deadline was November, but it really just needs to be ready for the Guild quilt show in April. Hopefully I'll have more to show you next Friday.

I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" to click on the badge in the right hand column and see what other wonderful textile artists are doing this week.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Curves continued

I have finished quilting my curvy project. I sketched out several quilting ideas on paper before I started, and I am glad I did. I ended up doing something completely different than what I had in my head to start with. I used rayon thread in the top and a variegated cotton thread in the bobbin. This caused lots of tension problems, because the cotton was so heavy and the rayon so slippery. I matched the rayon thread color to the fabric, so there were a lot of thread changes. First I sewed all the raw edges to the background, I use a back and forth stitch pattern, so each edge has three rows of stitching securing it. Then I went back and pebble quilted the fabric circles, and used a matching thread to do the other circles.
The background areas, I wanted to recede, so I did a small stipple in those areas. I was worried that it would hide/blend the hand dyed variations, but the color and texture came out well. Looking at it as a whole, I probably should have done a photo so I could see the value changes better. I put it together very randomly, trying to separate hot and cool colors in a balance. But I did not double check on the values, one end is definitely darker than the other. I'm not sure the photos really did the colors justice, I tried to adjust the color a little bit in Photoshop, I'm not sure it made it any better.
To finish off the quilting I used a walking foot to add a 1/4" echo quilted line on the curvi-licious sections, changing thread colors again with each fabric. Good thing my machine has an easy thread feature. I think it adds definition to the shapes and keeps them from being too puffy.
For the backing fabric I pieced the remainder of the large piece of muslin we drip dyed this summer. That is why I used the variegated thread. If I have enough fabric left, I'll use it for the binding too. It is quiet long, almost 6 feet, I hung it on the curtain rod of the doorway curtain to take the picture. Maybe my sewing room door will be it's permanent home. I'll put a sleeve on it so it can be hung either vertical or horizontal. Now, to come up with a name for it. The shape brings to mind handrail spindles or balustrades. Any ideas?

I'll be linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right hand column to see what other talented textile artists have done this week.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Since returning from NY and seeing the AQS Syracuse show, I have been wanting to play with my new "Gadget," a "Curvelicious" ruler. Well I guess it is not a ruler as it has no measurements on it, so let's call it an acrylic template. It is 24" long and barely fit diagonally in my suitcase, I was worried it would get snapped in half by the airlines. My main intention is to use it with my hand dyed fabrics. My hand dyed collection has been growing, and I am always looking for a new project to use them in. I like to have a project going with my vintage fabric collection too.
My hand dyed fabrics have outgrown the 3 boxes I had them in, so I took them all out and refolded and fondled them. Unfortunately most were fat quarters, and not long enough for the 24" template. My last batch however was long 1/3 yard strips, and worked just perfect, but I did not have the color assortment I wanted. I began by cutting 4" strips, since I could not find the instructions, didn't even bother looking. Well, really they should be the width of the template plus half the width on either side, with seam allowance I should have cut 7 1/2" strips. But the pattern looked good anyway, just that they were butted up next to each other, instead of having the negative space be the same as the template.
When it was demonstrated for me, she had fused the whole strip, but I did not want that much fusible, so I cut 1" strips and fused them to the spindle shapes. I use Pellon 805 "Wonder Under" for a fusible, but I went and got a new batch and it is DIFFERENT and not in a good way. Way too plasticy, it did not iron on as easily, and did not stick very well either. I am not a happy camper. But I've got 6 yards to use up, thankfully it was on sale.
Another thing with the template, is that you need the smallest rotary cutter, to cut the concave curves, even with that it was still snagging on the plastic, and being difficult to use, she had even cut the small decorative circles with the small cutter. But I used a plastic template, drew around the circle and cut them by hand.
My OCD had me cutting until I ran out of fabric, it made quiet a long set of strips. I had planned on doing 24" blocks and put them together in alternating directions, but it did not come out square, so I made it one long set of strips. It is too wide for a table runner, so I think it will go on the back of a door. I plan on working in a series with this template, so in my mind I have solved the problem of the alternating blocks. I also want to play with shadows, I have scraps that have a curvy side and a straight side, and lots more circles, and lots of other ways to use this template. Now to start quilting.
See you next Friday, on Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right hand column to see what other very talented textile artists have been doing this week.