Friday, October 30, 2009

Quotes and Quilts

I used to live in Marietta, GA and was part of several fiber art groups. Occasionally someone went out of town and would bring back a small treat - a fat quarter, some new thread, a new trinket of sorts. It was great fun and always a wonderful surprise; these "treats" came to be known as a "Happy". One of my favorite "Happys" was this wonderful little book with handmade paper. I wanted to save it for something special. After finding scraps of paper here and there filled with quotes, I thought my book to be the perfect place to hold them, so it became my book of quotes.
I stamp on the pages to "prettify" them and then add the quotes. They are from everywhere. Sometimes a movie will have a wonderful line (so many from The Hours), I write it down (in the dark, in the theatre) and it winds up here.  Sometimes it's just something one of my friends have said (very cool friends who say very profound things) winds up here. I like using quotes to write on fabric. Sometimes it becomes a silk screen and sometimes I'll just write it. My handwriting is terrible but I don't mind the way it looks on fabric.
My dear friend and very accomplished artist - Barbara Butler made this wonderful quilt many years ago. She used quotes she'ld been saving for over 30 years. I loved the fact that as you looked at it, many reflected the "sign of the times" One quote was "Peace" - definitely the 60s.
The first time my daughter saw this, she stood and admired, for 20 minutes - totally intrigued reading every quote.
It's a wonderful piece and a great way to use quotes or any other kind of writing. It's also a great idea for a scrap quilt.

If you're wanting to write on fabric, choose something made for fabric, textiles etc. so it's permanent. I use a Pigma pen. It also helps to back the fabric with freezer paper while writing to prevent shifting.
Have a great weekend and a spooky and wonderful Halloween, and don't forget to set your clocks back.  What are you going to do with that extra hour?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Morning's Glory Quilt

Years ago I took a weeklong workshop with David Walker - a fiber artist "extraordinaire". He told us that whenever he finished a quilt, he would light lots of candles in his studio, turn off the lights (except for one on his quilt), open a great bottle of wine, put on his favorite music and enjoy the moment and what he had accomplished. I've always loved that; wish I could say I do the same, not as easy with people and pets around. About all I can manage is the wine. I did finish my quilt today and it does feel good. So here are some details.
While previewing it on the wall, my son said it needed more sparkle and I agree. The only way to incorporate it at this point was through the quilting. I didn't want the whole piece quilted with metallic, just a touch here and there.
I used a mylar which can be wicked to use but it was cooperating this time around. There is nothing better for giving glitz than a mylar; there's so much reflection.
I also used a couching thread - Candlelight by YLI in the bobbin and sewed from the back of the quilt. You can see the heavier threadwork.
I used a very subdued "non-descript" color to quilt the other areas so the quilting wouldn't be too dominant.
The extra threadwork on the flowers and leaves gave it more dimension which it needed.

I added more threadwork on the leaves and fabric curls.

I dyed the fabric for the back and used the same mylar in the bobbin so the back would be sparkly also.
I used to be a designer for the Fairfield Fashion Show. The show itself had many wonderful sponsors who gave us great products to use for our creations. As a result, I've built up an enormous thread collection including many decorative threads. Mylars are hard to use on the top of the machine because they break easily but work very well in the bobbin, so to use up these threads, I started using them in the bobbin. Before I realized it, many of my quilts had a "sparkly" back to them; I liked the look.
So now I use them all the time on the back.
I faced the quilt as I wanted the edges to be plain - without a binding. I used a clothing construction technique to face the quilts.
and here is the finished piece.
I was still stumped on a name but had a thought - when I walk in the morning (in summer), first thing I see outside are the Morning Glories and they are glorious - so Morning's Glory.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Birdhouses and Morning Glories

A while back I started a new piece inspired by a Bluebird house a neighbor gave me as a house warming gift. I love the weathered look and coupled with a vine like plant, thought it would make a pretty quilt. The working title is Birdhouses and Morning Glories; I'm trying to come up with a better title. Any ideas?
The picture of the birdhouse was to be part of the background, so I thought it should be fairly subdued. I turned it into a Sepia print in Photoshop Elements.

I cropped the image and enlarged parts of the image to make interesting design elements.
I wasn't concerned about direction, just wanted it for an interesting background.
All shapes and sizes were printed on fabric; I wanted lots of choices for designing.
I liked the nail and strong wood grain in the part below.
I had some wonderful "granite" patterned fabric that worked really well with this imagery.
I like that the background is interesting without being overpowering.
I had printed some monoprints on the purchased fabric; it seemed to work well with this imagery

and the pieced background.
At this point I thought it needed some "sparkling up" so I scoured my collection of couching threads and found this amazing little sparkle.
I set my machine for a narrow zig zag and threaded it with a monofilament on top. I laid the threads down along the narrow fabric strips and zig-zagged it in place.
The threadwork gives it a little more definition which I like.
A detail of the threadwork.
I had already decided on a "greenish-blue" for the flower and dyed some mercerized cotton using procion mx dyes. I used Marine blue and a Chino brown - the 2 together in the same fabric give it more movement.
Nice, but not enough definition, so what to do? The flower needed more movement so I divided the flower into sections and cut out each section taking into consideration a "light source". I also thought the use of a textile paint along the edges would make it "pop"! Think it pops and additional threadwork will help.
So here are the 2 flowers side by side - a before and after (after is first), so I guess it's after and before.
Next step was to pin everything in place, put on design wall and live with it for a while. This part is important, the everyone tasks that take me in and out of the room, looking at it, how often it takes on a new perspective. Sometimes, something will click that I don't like; I never saw it at first but after looking at it everyday, it's glaring! So for me, this "down time is time well spent.
I wanted a lot of movement so I added fabric swirls and curls. I also wanted the flowers to meander around the birdhouse to mimic the garden.

Next step is to fuse and sew the appliques down, then machine quilt. I've actually been doing that for a few days; it's almost done so will show you the results in the next post.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Boone, NC Revisited

My husband and I love to take short trips in the fall, taking advantage of the beautiful weather and color. Yesterday our destination was Boone, NC. I was there 2 weeks ago with my PTA group to see "12 Voices" at the Turgin Center for Visual Arts; I wanted John to see it also - so up to Boone we went. Our first stop was the Annex to the original Mast General store. Mast is our favorite store in Asheville, this one in Valle Crucis is the oldest one - over 100 years old. It's great fun to see, like taking a trip back in time.
I love all the "penny" candy in barrels, not a penny anymore but so much fun to get a bucket and pick and choose from a great variety.
There is an entrance in the back of Mast General with a sitting area and wonderful old, rusted signs.
And shelves loaded with jams and jellies
I love this old Coke machine, still in use and very different than the ones we have today.
And the wonderful antiques along the ledge.
This wonderful piece holds all kinds of nuts and bolts and still sold loose, like 100 years ago, no packages here!
And a genuine "sit and play a spell" station for checkers...
And remember these wonderful post office boxes with the little dials to create your own combination. My parents had one and here they're still in use.
Love this sewing cabinet
And more antiques.
The floors were very uneven everywhere, so "watch you step".
These chairs in the shoe department really tickled me.
Our next stop was along the Blue Ridge Parkway to Moses Cone Craft Shop - one of 5 shops owned and operated by the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Members of the guild sell their work in these shops.
We drove home along the Blue Ridge Parkway which is always magical, especially this time of year. The views were breathtaking.
The parkway in the late afternoon is my favorite time - there are deep shadows on the mountains.
I can see why they are called the "Blue Ridge" Mountains.

And even some icicles, wow, keeps getting better and better.
And the color - of course, the color.
Such a magical day and today back to work in my studio.