Monday, May 22, 2017

Cactus Blossoms

I've returned from my big trip to the Southwest. We hit 4 National Parks, a Nat'l Momument and several other places. We went to Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree. We were a little late for the wildflowers, but we found some here and there, as we went North to South and at different elevations. We were also a little early for the cactus too, they were just starting to bloom.
I am hoping to use these cactus pictures for inspiration to do an art quilt.
Near Phoenix the Saguaro were blooming, thank god for a telephoto lens. The big ones were SO TALL!
This yellow flowered cactus was planted in a rest area, the new pads were purple, I like the heart shaped one. I'm trying to decide on my next project. I finished stuff for the UVQG Show and now I have to decide on something new, or just to finish other UFO's. I'll link this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here to see what other textile artists are doing this week.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Umpqua Valley Quilt Show

The Umpqua Valley Quilt Guild Show was last weekend. Several of the Fyber Café group went to set up our display area. Thank you UVQG for allowing us this space! The next morning, I went to the show for a few minutes, then hit the road in my RV to S. California. I picked up an old college friend from Long Beach, at the Bakersfield Greyhound Station, and we headed into the Mojave desert. I was going to post more pics but the internet here at the campground is so slow. We are taking pictures of what few wildflowers we are finding, a few weeks earlier would have been better, but some of the cactus are just starting to bloom. We hit several quilt shops in St. George Utah, as well as the Superior Threads Warehouse. It is amazing, you can walk around all the shelves with thread, and pick out what you want, also they have a quilter's fabric shop. We ended up in Cedar City and went into Zion national Park the day before, it is all shuttle buses thru the canyon, with stops at all the trailheads and scenic sites. We went to Weeping Rock, Court of the Patriarchs and Temple of the Simawava. It is all beautiful, inspite of all the people. I can't imagine what it is like on summer weekends. The next day we went to Kolob Canyon at the North end of the park, and got snowed on at the 6800ft end of the road. We also went to find a petroglyph site, and I took a lot of pics there. Just up the road was a site with dinosaur tracks in the rocks, but we could not find them, even as geology students, you would have thought we could have figured it out, but the trail was poorly marked.
It took almost an hour for this last photo to upload, so you don't get to see the other wildflowers pics or the rest of the quilt show. I will try to link this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday"click here to see what other talented textile artists are doing this week.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

My Round Robin Tote Bag

My Round Robin tote bag was finally returned to me with all four sides done. Clare made card woven handles for me, and the people in her rotation. In return, I made the fabric sides for her, when it was her turn to work on the bags. She used Sugar & Spice cotton yarn to match the bag in blues, turquoise and rust, with a real pretty weaving pattern.
On one end of the weaving I did a twisted fringe, it sways when you move. The thickness of the weaving was hard to stitch on to the bag, it stitched ok, just hard to get under the pressure foot. Vi made this side with diagonal strips, and added beading on the dyed cheesecloth. She said she left the other strips clear so I could stencil the leafy stems to match the rest of the bag. Unfortunately it had batting behind it, and was so bouncy when I painted, I made a mess. I had to repaint the edges with a paint brush, the free motion stitching hid most of the ragged edges. I did not paint the last two areas, which were very plain, so I added some more dyed cheesecloth and some green leaf glass beads.
Cheryl needle felted an end piece for me. With dark wool rocks at the bottom, and green fronds reaching up, and a wool butterfly at the top. I added some rayon embroidery thread leaves and some glass beads at each frond tip. Crystal amber beads blend so well with the orange flowers, that you can hardly see them, but they add sparkle. I added one of my thread painted butterflies at the top, and did some free motion quilting to the background areas.
Meredith added the last end piece, with bushy dyed green cheesecloth, and an agave spikey plant made with different blue shear fabrics. I added LOTS of glass leaf beads in several different styles. I'd like to add something in the middle section, but I'll think about it. She sewed on several different layers of teal and silver lame, and a sparkly blue cotton at the top. I had just bought some tiny gold glass stars at Bead Mecca in Canyonville, and stitched them at the top on the blue cotton.
Last but not least, I added the lining, I had a big chunk of a bright turquoise with tropical leaves on it. Unfortunately it was a poly/cotton blend which is probably why it is still on my shelf. But it is heavier so it will stand up to hard wear. I added an inside pocket and did detailed free motion quilting, and added Velcro closure. I did a quick large stipple to the rest of the lining. Oops, I did not get a good view of the whole bag, but the detail photos are better, as you could only see one side at a time anyway. I will link this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here to see what other talented textile artist are doing this week.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


I finished working on "Icarus" in plenty of time for the deadline. I free motion quilted the feathers, that I had stenciled, I went slow and easy to get as much control and detail as I could. I used a gray rayon thread, it was rather dark, but worked out ok. I had planned on a lighter gray more silvery color, but I did not think there was enough thread on the spool. I did not follow the style feather in Quilting Arts magazine, as I had the stencils to guide me. It went quickly, even though I was stitching slow, all the feathers were done in an hour and the background a half hour.
The background quilting is not as dense as the feathers. Wavy lines and spirals gave a very free airy movement feel to it. The background puffs out a bit and the feathers recede and look flat, a very different look.
Since the long strip was just a leftover, probably the end of the bolt that was too narrow for me to use as a nine inch strip, it was very raggedy. It was difficult to trim square, I kept cutting a little more, and a little more, it finally finished at 7.5" wide and the whole 42" long. I had a similar ice dyed fat quarter that I cut for the binding.
A yellow hand dyed fabric with a little rust color was used for the 8" diameter base of the sun, and all the 3-D embellishments are from a very pale smooth yellow. I began with small prairie points, just a bit difficult to make turn a circle, then covered the edges with ruching. The hand dyed fabric was a very high quality, that we used a bolt of for several dye sessions. However it was such a tight weave it was hard to hand stitch through. It took me several sessions of stitching, as I had to take breaks for my hands to uncramp. I had cut a slash in the center to turn the sun/batting and backing right side out, so I covered it with a large yoyo and a bright yellow center button.
I hand beaded the strands of beads to attach the sun to the feathers. Glass, crystals, squares, and free form yellow beads made a nice heavy strands, no seed beads or bugle beads, I wanted something more substantial. The middle of the center strand has a hand made lampwork bead, that my friend Meredith made for me one Christmas. I treasure the little bag of beads she gave me. I was going to use a blue one at the bottom, but I stitched too fast and forgot it. Getting it to hang even, with even strands on each side was a bit tricky.
I had thought about adding feather clusters hanging from the bottom, but then decided not too. That did NOT stop me from going to Joann's and Michaels's and purchasing extra blue beads. I wanted to match the types of beads I used at the top. I figured I spent $20 even at half off, to make 8" of beaded strands. oh well, more beads for the stash. I also wanted to match the stenciled feathers and got a $2 bag of white feathers, probably chicken. As you can see from the photo I did add the feathers to the bottom. Where I had an existing white plastic hook on the wall, it now puts the feathers into kittie range, I am waiting for her to discover them.
As you can see, it is VERY long, probably 60 inches. They always ask for rules when we make a challenge. Our guide lines for the challenge are about 20" on a side. But I tell every one, we are artists, we break the rules, so what ever works for you. I have the perfect little piece of wall to display it, but I am not using the white plastic hooks, they stick out too far from the wall and it does not hang smoothly. See the previous post to see the stencil work on the hand dyed fabric. The Umpqua Valley Quilters' Guild show is the following weekend at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, on Interstate 5. I finished with a week to spare! Our Fyber Café art group, will have our own display area. We will display the round robin tote bags, the "Flights of Fancy" challenge art, and extra pieces of art the members have made. If you are in Southern Oregon from Ashland to Corvalis, and over on the coast, please come and see our show, they registered over 300 quilts for display. This does not count special exhibits or vendors displays. I will link this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here to see what other talented textile artists are doing this week.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I'm an Addict

Yes, I Amy, am a stencil addict. I admit that anytime I see a new stencil, I have to have it. I've even been known to buy a duplicate stencil, cause I did not know I had it already. I've made a list, to help me remember, but I don't take the list with me. And since I am an addict, I have to buy it immediately.
So when I wanted a feather stencil, I knew I had one in several different sizes. I did not expect to come up with eight of them. Although several are large decorative feathers, kinda fancy, and I wanted realistic. I also had a stencil from The Crafters Workshop, designed by Jennie Bowlin, and a Jennie Bowlin Studios stencil, that are exactly the same. I feel ripped off, since I knew it was a different company, I knew I did not have that stencil. I even bought the Brother Scan N Cut machine mainly because I could design and cut my own stencils with it. And I do, and I love it. One of the stencils was adhesive, I'm not sure about it. I had to pick out all the little cutout bits and they stuck to everything. I pealed the release plastic sheet only half way off to use one stencil, but had to remove it completely to get to the center one. Then it stuck where I had just painted. The stencil stuck to stuff I did NOT want it stuck to, and was hard to peel off the fabric when finished, I was afraid I would tear the stencil. Then getting the plastic film back on when done was a struggle too. I never have trouble with stencils moving while I use them, I pin to a foam core board if I need to, or use basting spray to lightly coat the back of the plastic with spray adhesive. I will NOT be buying any more adhesive ones.
I found two pieces of hand dyed blue fabric, the fat quarter, I was going to use for my project, and the narrow strip for practice machine stitching. But as I started to stencil, I thought why not just use the strip for my project. I started with the smallest feather, about an inch long, and added medium, then larger sizes. I painted one feather from each stencil, except for some of the larger, fancier ones.
On the smallest stencils, the vein lines are very fine and hard to see, with the medium and large, they were more varied and distinct.
I used a Liquitex Acrylic white craft paint, it was fairly opaque, and I wanted it to look soft, not stark white. I used a stiff brush and used it dry with very little paint. You have to paint from the tip to the stem, so all the little bits of plastic don't get bent out of shape, and this helped keep the brush strokes staying in a consistent direction. This fabric is for my Fyber Café challenge, the Theme is "Flights of Fancy." I am going to hang it vertically with the smallest feather at the top, and getting larger as they fall down. It is based on the old myth of Icarus making a set of wings, and gluing feathers on with wax, as he tried to fly to the sun, the wax melted, the feathers came off, and he fell to earth. I will make a round sun, with hand dyed fabrics and put it at the top of the hanging. I don't know how I want to embellish the sun yet, I am thinking Angelina fibers, or prairie points. The bottom feather has a curved tip as it hits the bottom of the wall hanging. In the newest issue of Quilting Arts magazine, they have an article on free motion stitching feathers. I am going to do that, but have the light white stencil behind my stitching, that will give me additional guide lines, and make the feathers stand out more, since they are the focus of the art. Now to do some quilting, cause the deadline is FAST approaching. I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here check to see what other talented textile artist did this week.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ducks in a Row

FINISHED! The Umpqua Valley Quilters' Guild Show is coming up in a few weeks, so I have been madly sewing bindings, and labels. "Getting My Ducks in a Row" is done, all the sections quilted a row at a time, are done, and the border added. The flannel border fabric is leftover from a commissioned ducky quilt I made a few years ago, there was just enough to get 4 1/2" borders from it. I free motioned stipples in the background and outlined the ducks. It is lots of fun with all the yellow duckies, they are from the H2O themed Row by Row from 2015.
"My Summer Travels" was done a while ago, but I had not gotten a picture of it. So I had my friends came over, so they could hold it up, to take the picture. It is from the row x rows from 2016, themed "Home Sweet Home. I also have another one almost finished in this format from the 2015 rows. I just need to add the left hand rows and add a border to it. Then I still have extra rows made, I probably made 40 rows from the first year I participated. This year I only made the ones I needed for the quilt, choosing my favorites, the ones that would go together well. I'm going to be traveling next month, to Bryce & Zion Nat'l. parks, and the Grand Canyon, Phoenix and Tucson. Too bad they don't start this year's that early. I know I asked one of the shops what this year's theme is, but I can't remember what it was. On Friday I will link this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday. click here Check it to see what other talented textile artists are doing this week.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Party Girls

"Party Girls" is finished! I finally got all the beading done and the hand sewn binding. This started with some figures of women I traced from "O" Magazine, and put into my Scan N Cut machine. I cut them from various light colored batiks, then searched for a dark background. I bought several different fabrics, with stars, fireworks, metallic etc... before finally settling on this purple. I wanted more than just a solid background, so I added the black and white triangles, and the solid black and purple at the top and bottom. I cut it up into various widths, and put it back together like a bargello. I wished I had taken more time with the triangles, so the points matched up better on each strip. I don't know how much this extra work shows up, but I am glad I did it. It is free motion machine quilted with raw edge applique.
I went through several packages of rhinestones, looking for the right materials for the disco ball. I ended up with a scrap booking product, a sheet of squared rhinestones. It comes in different colors too. It was super easy to work with, it's plastic, so it cut easy with the scissors and I was able to stitch right through it. I used a zigzag stitch to put it on, and it pierced the plastic with no problems. I will definitely use this material again. I used some clear mylar Sulky thread, around the ball, and for rays of light shooting out from it. I hand beaded seed beads and bugle beads, in crystal and pearl, to make rays of light. I think it was lots of fun. There is one more figure to the left, and the ball is very centered, but I missed it in the photo. Check out all the talented textile artists on Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here

Friday, March 10, 2017

Soy Wax Resist

My friends Susan and Jenny came over to work with the soy wax again. Jenny is working on a batik based on a Maxwell Parish painting. She is doing it for the Fyber Café challenge "Flights of Fancy."
Susan and I added another layer of dye and wax to the pieces we made last time and waxed a few more. I got two new drying racks at Grocery Outlet when I was in Washington. A great deal at $7.50, the ones at Walmart are $20.
I added the bling to the characters of Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. Using Sulky mylar gold thread, I free motion stitched slowly so I could get a long stitch length, so the gold would show well. I also finished the binding and label. The tension was off when I stitched the white so I had white dots pop up on the black backing, so I used a Pigma pen to color all the dots black. It looks so much better now.
When I was at my sister's in Washington, I got this beautiful Poppy fabric at Quilting Mahem in Snohomish. I got the last 2 yards on the bolt, and wanted to just do a simple setting. I cut out large 8" squares and added either the coral print or teal/coral batik in a 2 inch border. I had enough floral to set it on point, and do a decent width border. I did go back and get another 1/2 yard of the teal and coral, so I had enough for a final border and binding. It only took me a couple of easy afternoons to get it finished. It's about 70" square. I will be linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here check to see what other awesome textile artists are doing this week.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Earth, Wind, Fire and Water

I have made a small wall hanging from one of the fabrics that I made at Craft Napa. It is a bold black and white shibori print, that I wanted to add red to. At Craft Napa, I had stenciled the 3 red circles, and printed the paisley stamp, and used the end of the brush to do the red dots. It looked very oriental so I stenciled the Japanese characters for Earth, wind, fire and water onto the clearest spots. It looks rather crowded and the characters don't stand out very well. I am going to outline them with several rows of stitching with a gold metallic thread, to help them show better.
I accidentally started to free motion quilt with regular polyester thread, in black, so I continued with the white thread. However it shows why I like to use rayon thread with the size 90 needle. The rayon fluffs up a bit and fills the larger holes made with the 90 needle. I used a red rayon thread on the circles and dots. I will add some outlining on the paisley when I get home to go thru my threads for the right color, it is kind of burgundy. I am up near Seattle visiting my sister, I brought a few small projects with me. I started to stitch the binding, but the light is not good enough to hand stitch black on black, so I'll wait 'til I am home. I am going to give the wall hanging to my nephews to thank them for their hospitality, while staying with them while in Napa. Check out the link to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" to see what other great textile artists are doing this here

Friday, February 17, 2017

Lorraine's Tote Bag

I am finishing the last of the Round Robin Tote Bags, this one belongs to Lorraine. She likes a modern style, and I have used a black background. The first two sections done by others in our textile art group, have circles, curves and are made in browns, beige, & rust on black. I drew a sketch to get started, but the applique is different. I kept the large curve and my fabric choices dictated the size of the circles. I made the curve into a pocket, so I added batting and a backing, and quilted it separately.
The first 3 sections are together, I think my addition works with the whole.
The last side section was all that was left. Since I am doing a section for Clare, who is weaving us handles, I did this section too. I found some brown, rust, black prints at the shop in Snohomish, Washington. I wanted the section to look as if a different person did it, but still combine well with the previous sections. I fussy cut the border off the circles print, and fussy cut 3 large circles from the 2nd print. A pale cream batik worked for a light background.
The other sections are "simple" I kept wanting to fill in the empty spaces, but the modern look is more sparse. So I decided to add some beads to embellish the last side. A quick trip to Ben Franklin scored some rust/red glass circles. I will also add a few seed beads to the large fabric circles. I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday." click here to see what other textile artists are doing this week.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Evening with Judy Coats Perez

The first day at Craft Napa, I also took an evening class with Judy Coats Perez. The class was for making foam stamps. She had an adhesive foam sheet for each of us, a clear polyester film and tracing paper. I had not used adhesive foam before, I had tried to use Elmers to glue two regular sheets together, which did not work very well. We drew designs on the tracing paper with a pencil, and flipped it onto the foam. Then we rubbed over the back of the paper and it transferred the image to the foam. The designs were cut out with an Exacto knife, the paper backing pulled off, and it was adhered to the clear polyester film. I ended up just using my paper scissors to cut out the design on the foam, unless it was a very tiny area.
Judy had several reference books for us to use, one was flowers and plants, the other animals drawn in different cultural styles. I did the animal stamps from some of the images I found in the book. The back of the alligator was cut with a scalloped paper crafting scissors, as well as some of the leaves in the previous photo. I really liked putting the foam on the clear polyester film, being able to see through it was great for alignment when printing. The sheets are called Dur-a-lar .005 thickness, the pack I got at the art supply was 25 sheets for $12.50. She said you can also order it from Dick Blick catalog. I wonder how it will work for cutting stencils? It was a good weight and certainly cheaper than stencil plastic.
In Sue Bleiweiss' class, she also gave us foam but she used a heavy book cover cardboard, because she used to bind books, and she had a lot of it! At the evening class with Judy everyone was already tired from the full day of class. We thought the class was maybe 6-8pm, no one could remember, but the class was 6:30 to 9:30. Whew, we were tired, but class was low key, just cutting up foam for stamps. We all kind of faded at 9 and left early.
Last week two friends came over and we played with soy wax. Jenny wanted to do a batik for the Fyber Café challenge "Flights of Fancy." I told her how the soy wax was much better than the traditional paraffin and beeswax mix. The soy wax melts at a low temp and washes out with hot water. Even tho I first remove as much wax as possible with newspaper and an iron, before putting the fabric in the washing machine. She is drawing a fairy sitting on a rock, based on a Maxfield Parrish painting. Susan and I just played with stamping the wax onto fat quarters, with different tools.
I used a squiggly bendy straw for the purple dyed one. I already had some dye made up, and I made a dye thickener to paint dye with. The directions for the sodium alginate said "add a little to some fluid" how do you interpret those directions? I put a teaspoon in a pint Mason jar of water and stirred it up. It clumped instantly and took a bit of stirring but it thickened fast. I probably could have used less powder. We had little paper cups, added about 2 tablespoons of goop and a good squirt of dye, then we used foam brushes to apply the dye.
We cleaned up at noon, Susan and I will add more wax and dye layers at another time. We went to Los Dos Amigos Mexican restaurant for Margaritas... and lunch.

I am linking this to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here to see what other talented textile artists are doing this week.