Thursday, June 15, 2017

Decorator Fabric

Recently at one of our PTA meetings, one of the members had lots of "unwanted" pieces of decorator fabric samples. I took some of the larger ones with not a clue on what to do with them. 
 They sat and sat in my studio when one day, the lightbulb went on...not a genius idea lightbulb..but a lightbulb just the same. All these beautiful samples would make great placemats...certainly sturdy enough and each one different....what fun to put on a table.
 Each person can sit at their favorite placemat and hopefully everyone will want a different one.
 I used a purchased placemat as a template, and traced around each fabric sample on the wrong side. I cut them out leaving around 1/2" beyond the marked line. I bought buckram at a local chain sewing store and cut out pieces a little smaller than the placemat.

 The buckram was stitched in place using a white thread on top and a monofilament in the bobbin so the clear thread would show on the right side. I sewed a line of stitching around 1/4" from the marked line (photo above)

One of the really fun parts was finding different backing fabrics for each decorator fabric. I used cotton fabric...some were batiks, some prints...somewere very dated but worked well. Each cotton backing was cut the same size as the decorator fabric. It was then placed right side to right side of decorator fabric and stitched around on marked line. The buckram was not caught in the stitched line.

 I switched to using neutral thread in both top and bottom for this stitching. I left an opening of around 6" on one side to right side it. This was not difficult but it was cumbersome as the buckram is stiff. The opening was stitched closed by hand. The original stitching to hold the buckram in place was left and not visible because it was a monofilament and guaranteed no shifting of the buckram (during washing etc.)
 I wound up with 18 placemats...didn't even realize how many as each fabric was so much fun and I just kept going. So here are some of the results...
 and the backing fabric used on the 3 above ...
 The Egret is my favorite one in this bunch..
 with the pretty blue tulip print on back...
 I loved the flowered ones and will probably hold up better ...
 and the backs...

I loved the dragon......
and the back.. A fun project....I am linked to Off the Wall Friday and Whoop Whoop Friday.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Clever Idea

While teaching at the NC Symposium a short while back, I came upon a very clever idea from a student. 
This gal had as a carrier of sewing supplies, an old suitcase...even had some stamps like the ones of years ago.
When she opened it, the fun began...all of her sewing tools neatly displayed in one place (mine get thrown in a ziplock bag). She started with an insert for the top which she made, covered with batting and fabric. It fit very tightly so it couldn't be removed easily. Next, a long piece of elastic was placed underneath and across the width of the back. Small openings were made on the insert in order to pull the elastic through in a small loop. It was then secured in place with stitching and then continued underneath until it reappeared for the next opening. She said it was really quite easy to do. The main part of the suitcase was for cutting boards, fabric and other large items.

Suitcases used to have a ribbon to hold the top upright; this one was replaced with a colorful grosgrain ribbon. It was such fun to see and goes to every class. I love the people I meet while teaching; they fill me with so much inspiration.
I am linked to Off the Wall Friday and Whoop Whoop Friday...check out these fun sites to see what other fiber artists are doing.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Printing with Thickened Dyes

Our Fiber Junkies group met a little while back to do some deconstructive screen printing. It should be sunny in order for the screens to dry....however, Mother Nature had other ideas...knowing that the plants needed water more then we needed sun. But not to worry, our group will always have a way to play and have fun. We used the thickened dyes to print on our soda ash prepared fabric.
 I brought lots of "misfits"...those fabrics close to being tossed and figured they couldn't get any worse.
 Like this piece printed in fuschia ....
 was laid on plastic and a thin coat of thickened dye rolled over it using a brayer.
 An inexpensive, spongy stamp from a craft store was used to "reverse print" and remove color when stamped on top.
 I like what is happening and hope it washes out to something pretty and useable.
 This also used a checkerboard stamp (same type as above) to remove color...
 and this piece used a sponge roller with raised dot shapes to roll the design on top...We all loved this tool.
 Here is one of them washed...think it needs a silk screen on top to finish it off.
 This was dye applied to crinkled plastic and then
 this wonderful fabric that Kate's husband got when he bought "healthy shoes" was gifted to me to use....
 which I did and anxious to see the final piece.
 Denny was wearing a wonderful work T- shirt she printed on and also used as a clean up rag. I must remember to do that next time.
 This very ordinary piece was printed with ferns.
 I coated the leaves with dye and printed on top of the fabric.
  This piece already had paint on it but needed something more so using an old printing block with the letter J, I printed with dyes. The dyes will not take in the areas of the paint as they can't permeate the fabric so it makes for an interesting affect.
 This piece used the ferns as a resist...
 laying them down, placing a blank silk screen on top and pulling dye over it. Removing the leaves shows the original fabric.
 I liked this one where the fern served as a stamp.
 A very wispy, light look to the piece.
 This had quite a bold base to start with so putting the fern on top was a good idea, I think....will find out soon.
 This was some kind of metal stencil Denny brought which was bold and quite effective.
 One of the pieces created with it....
 Of everything I did, think I like the botanicals the best...
And this one.....We had a wonderful day...I didn't get to take pics of my girlfriends work.....just kept forgetting...but they did some great stuff and we're all to bring our pieces to the next meeting. I am linked to Off the Wall Friday and Whoop Whoop Friday...Check out these wonderful sites to see what others are doing.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Wonderful Students

I've been a teacher all of my life...first in public school, then very humble beginnings in a local quiltshop, graduating to conferences and guilds around the country. It has always been a joyful experience and one, where I often find I've learned more than I've taught....and always one of the best parts is when you get an email, or a student finds you at a conference to share their finished piece from your workshop. So as I puff out my chest...let me introduce you to 3 very talented and lovely ladies who recently shared their finished piece of art with me.
Lorie Groetzinger took my "Nature to Paper to Fabric" workshop where students transfer real leaves to a special paper and then to fabric. Lorie created such a unique piece using leaves, a paper pieced background and a branch as a holder....and if that wasn't enough...
Look at this fabulous spider web she created with thread. If you look closely at the top picture, it sits in the middle between the branch and edge of the wallhanging. It's subtle but a wow moment when you come upon it.
and several details of the beautiful leaves and their placement on the piece.
Lorie did a wonderful job and I love that she shared this with me....Good Job, Lorie!!
Dawn Jennings took my Layered Naturescapes at another symposium and just made my day when she brought it to share. Well, It's fantastic, not only did I love the piece.... but thought the attention to detail was amazing. Dawn started with a base piece, added imagery, then a layer of silk organza and more imagery.
She went a step further by adding yarns, threads and seashells....
and this darling seahorse upon which I commented that it looked so vintage. Well, it was and what a lucky find for her; it adds so much to the piece. Great Job...Dawn!
Debbie Campbell signed up for my workshop again...this time to create a partner for this piece which is eye-popping and beautiful. Debbie started with a base piece, added pink cone flowers, painted organza and more flowers on top. The flowers on top really pop, making the ones on the first layer more dimensional and distant.
Debbie's second piece will utilize Daisies and similar background and organza colors so she can use them together. I was so happy to have Debbie back (we go way back together) and to see another wonderful piece developing....hope she sends photos (hint...hint...)and....Great job...Debbie!
Hats off to 3 lovely and very talented ladies and how lucky am I to know them as a student and friend.