Friday, June 23, 2017

Oz & Circles

I went to a four day Art Quilting Retreat on the Oregon Coast for 4 days. 5 of us went and had a great time, sewing and creating and visiting some good restaurants and quilt shops. I continued to sew circles to the background using my hand dyed fabrics. Since we had a big design wall to pin to, we tried to decide if we liked it vertical or horizontal. I am calling it Marble Madness, as the elementary school I drove school bus for had a Marble season, when the kids all played with marbles and collected them.
I decided to do a second one with some of the printed fabric I had made. They are all resist dyed fabrics, some soy wax, some potato starch, and other resists we tried at a dye class. I had a commercial batik to use for the background, and decided to wait and dye some indigo instead. That way I can say it is all hand dyed. I wanted to plan this one a little bit better, the 1st was just random, select fabrics as I went. So I set out the fabrics I wanted to use, and rough cut them into circles, lay out was more important, as I wanted the darker ones to recede and the brighter ones to be smaller and in the foreground. So we played around with arranging them for a while.
At the retreat one of the ladies wanted to do "Happy Villages" like some of us did last year. I had wanted to do another with the Emerald City as my theme. I took along an assortment of green fabrics, many of them had metallic gold on the printing. It was hard to limit the selection of fabric to 12 instead of 8 to 10. The lay out went quicker as I had experience doing it last year, but it still took hours. After dinner I added windows, doors and turrets.
The next morning I started on the yellow brick road, I had to sketch it several times, trying to get the perspective right. I began with the bottom, larger bricks, in a bright yellow "Fairy Frost" fabric on a brown batik. As I got higher and wanted to change the angle, we had a whole dialog about perspective, angles, vanishing points and horizon lines. It took us awhile to decide on the right way to get it done, and make it look good.
With the yellow brick road leading into the castle, everyone thought it pulled you right into the design. It took an immense amount of work. I did not want it to look cartoony, but not too realistic either, as the castle is not "Realistic." I did the bottom one brick at a time and as I went up I began cutting strips and will put the lines in with the thread painting.
I had gotten some grass fat quarters down stairs at Forget-Me-Knot quilt shop, each was a different height scale. I probably have them all already, but had not thought that far a head to bring them. I fussy cut the greener pieces from the fabric and as I progressed down I did not mind adding in more yellow tones and tan. I stopped at this point because I know at home I have several more grass fabrics that are the right scale and color. I plan on appliqueing some red/orange poppies at the bottom and adding the tips of some ruby slippers at the very bottom. It was very fun to do and see it grow. It took most of 2 1/2 days to get this far. You can get so much done at a retreat with out phone interruptions and spouse demanding attention. Two other ladies worked on their villages too, I will post them on the Fyber Café blog. I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here to check out what other textile artists are doing this week.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Machined Circles

I am always looking for a new project that I can use for my hand dyed fabrics. I keep dyeing more fabric and I get the mind set that it is too good to cut up. So having a project that makes me cut into the hand dyes is a good thing. So when I saw this simple way to set in circles and machine sew them, I was all excited. Pat G. and Lorraine in the Fyber Café arts group, took a class with Claudia Law, one of the things they learned was how to do these circles. I had seen it before on LeAnne Paylor's blog click here but I could not get my head around the concept. So maybe I can help it make sense.
Start with a double layer of freezer paper, ironed together, then trace your circle diameter. I have templates, but for the larger size I used a bowl, butter tub lids are great templates too. Cut out the circle and save the centers too. The smallest circle I've done is 3" you have to be able to pull all your fabric thru the center of the paper, or just rip the paper off when you are finished. You can try a smaller circle if your fabric is not too bulky. I made mine from 4 1/2" to 7" but you can certainly make them much bigger.
Iron the paper to the BACKSIDE of your background fabric, where you want the circle to be. Keep it well ironed in place.
Cut out the background fabric inside the circle, with a generous seam allowance. Then snip around the curve in the seam allowance. Use a glue stick on the paper edge and fold up all the snips.
Find the area on your circle fabric that you want to use, this is a great place to fussy cut. Use the cut out paper center as a guide and rough cut out your circle fabric with a 1" seam allowance.
Add a layer of glue stick on top of the glued snips, then set it onto your circle fabric, both fabrics right side up. Iron a bit to dry the glue.
Remember the first time you did paper piecing, and you had a hard time getting the idea that you were sewing on the paper not the fabric. This can bend your mind too, hopefully this will help. You are sewing from the TOP. With the fabrics both right sides up, peel the top layer back to the freezer paper edge. You will always stitch on the background fabric, right next to the paper. Do Not sew on the paper. The smaller your circle the more times you will have to stop with the needle down and pivot to get a smooth stitched circle.
Remove the freezer paper from the fabric, it is easier if your glue is not all dried. I have reused the freezer paper up to 3 times, until it tears, doesn't iron in place or gets too full of glue. Trim the excess fabric from around the seam. Flip over and iron from the front. It should lay very flat with no tucks or ripples.
You do not have to overlap your circles like I did. Have fun fussy cutting fabrics, or cut the circles out of patchwork pieces. I have another half yard of fabric to add circles to. My background is much darker than the photos show. A lot of the fabric I am using was ice dyed, or 3 layer parfait dyeing. I am going on a 3 day art retreat next week, with my art group to the Oregon Coast, whoopee! I am linking this to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here to see what other talented textile artists did this week.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Vintage Trailer Wall Hanging

I got all the little bitty 1 1/2" squares sewn together, and the narrow black and white check on the inner border. I had just enough of the check to do an outside border too. I have about a 1" x 2" scrap of the check, I used every last speck of it. The black and white helps tone the busyness down, from all the bright scraps. Since it is rainy today, I should probably go and find a piece of batting and start quilting on it. I am such a procrastinator. But I did make a pan of brownies, since the kitchen was cool enough to bake, and I did not have to worry about heating up the whole house on a hot day. I will link this to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here to see what other textile artists have been doing this week.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Vintage Trailer Wall Hanging

I am just making a quicky little wall hanging for my RV. I got the pre-printed panel on my travels in the South West. I cut tons of 1 1/2" squares out of a pack of charm squares and from the bag of scraps I had with me. I'm using them in a double row for sashing and border. I even had to cut a ton more squares to finish it. There is still a small black and white check for an inner border for each block that I have to cut out. I have just the space for it on the wall by the table in my RV. The bright colors are so cheerful.
Foxglove have seeded themselves over my front lawn and now they are in full bloom. It was beautiful watching them sway in the breeze the other day. I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here to see what other talented textile artists have been doing this week.

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

Icarus

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.