Sunday, February 19, 2012

Funky Houses - Almost Done!

I've been working like crazy to finish the top of this quilt. It has many examples of inkjet printed images which will work well with my upcoming lecture at Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival.  I must admit I've let everything go - the Dust Bunnies have been keeping me company (and multiplying) and acting quite smug while watching my progress knowing they're safe from extinction for a while. 
   I knew the piece needed some "green" to zing it up and also give more interest.  I have struggled with this part, doing and re-doing vines and tree branches. 
 I've always felt living with something for a while gives a whole new perspective. Time however, was not on my side this time around and I was anxious to find a solution.

 I finally realized it was just overdone - I couldn't see the forest for the trees or in this case, I couldn't see the houses for the forest, so I started to tweak and tweak some more, removing, slimming down each branch.
 I think it works now, less branches and just enough leaves and green. So now it's ready to be quilted - something simple but that will have to wait for a while.
Feels good to be in the homestretch of one of my unfinished projects and one I like.  Hope to see you at Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival - have a great week!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Back to Funky Houses

One of my New Years "resolutions" this year was to finish unfinished projects. It seems I do this every year and every year I say - but this year I really mean it!  Well this year, I really do mean it  (-:  I started this "funky" house quilt last year but for whatever reason, it got put on the back burner.  So now it's back on my wall and I'm in the home stretch.  I think I've had more fun with this quilt than anything I've done in a long time. The houses are a combination of inkjet printed images and commercial fabric.  The house below is the biggest and centered in the quilt.
 I printed a picture of lichen covered rocks for the roof.
 I also printed windows, doors and dandelions.
 This next little "doghouse" started with an image of a sculpture at the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC
 and became the entry way to the house.
 This next little house has a doorway to a forest.
 The next very crooked house has a "wonky" looking door which was manipulated in Photoshop Elements.
 A picture of an outhouse
 became an outhouse with grass on top and a horseshoe on the door (and chickens).
 I'm still working on how to set them and I hoping to get this sewn together by next Monday.
I'm doing a lecture at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival next week on Creative Inkjet Printing on fabric; this would be a good sample to show - so it's back to the machine.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

FAA - February, 2012

We had our February meeting of the Fiber Arts Alliance group yesterday and as always, it was inspiring, great fun and so nice to see many friends.  I really only planned on staying a short while as I have so much to get ready for the Mid-Atlantic conference but much as I tried, I couldn't pull myself away.  Heather Yurgeles showed us this beautiful scarf she made using a water soluble stabilizer.  She didn't like the way one of the yarns behaved so she crocheted an edge on the finished piece giving it more stability and definitely more WOW, it was a wonderful piece.
Sally Fargo created this wonderful portrait in fabric of her husband and a cute story behind it. Her and her husband don't do that many presents for Christmas. Like many of us, they are at the point where they buy "Christmas" presents throughout the year  -  works for me. Anyway, Sally started to get suspicious and thought maybe her husband had indeed gotten her something, so she put together this wonderful self portrait of him at the last minute
 The detail in the beard is my favorite, done with saw dust chips. Apparently he is such a neat nick, she couldn't even get the sweepings from his workshop, as he cleaned them up everyday, so she got them from a friend - It's a wonderful touch.
 And the back - tape measure fabric. I need to find this fabric for my husband as he's a woodworker.
 PS - Sally wasn't wrong in her suspicions, her hubby got her a Laptop.
Sally also showed us a sampler of an online class she was taking making use of all the decorative stitches on her machine as well as hand embroidery stitches.
 I always look forward to seeing Peggy O'Connors work - it's always wonderful and packed with great detail. Beautifully dyed fabric and beadwork - wonderful to see up close.
 Maureen Kampen shared with us a hostess gift she made for a recent trip she made to a friend's house. They are fabric coasters; the thing I loved the most was the photos they took while visiting their friends and then
 incorporating them into these small pieces of art, such as an interesting tree on one of their walks.
 And favorite sayings - as I leave you with this parting thought!
A great meeting

Monday, February 6, 2012

Shaded Florals

Last week I posted about the wonderful "marking" day I had with my Fiber Junkies group. One of my favorite markers is the Paintstik by Shiva.  It's oil paint in stick form and works great on fiber.  It's also permanent after allowing it to air dry for a week. I have a load of them, can't help adding more colors.
 I started using them for shading when working with commercial fabric for the piece below.
The sticks worked so well for shading, I decided to develop a workshop to demonstrate this technique.
 It's one of the workshops I'll be teaching at Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival this month.  Students will have a choice of several patterns, one being my old stand-by  - the Iris.  This flower lends itself to a lot of shading. This is the Iris done in commercial fabrics before shading and threadwork.
 I'll use several paintstiks in colors close to the fabric color.
 I also use the tiniest of tiny stencil brushes. This gives me the best control and enables me to get into small spaces.
 I also use lots of index cards as they are sturdier than regular paper for mixing the colors. That's a plus using these - you can mix any color and being oil, they don't dry out quickly on the card.
 I choose areas that need a little "personality" and very cautiously start applying the paint.  Better to go light and add more, you can't remove it too easily once it's on the fabric.
 You can see I've started the bud below.
 I also use decorative threadwork.
 And some of the shading on the flower.
 so this
 becomes this with just a little effort.
I also use a microwave dyed background for a lot I do, but I'll save that for another post.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"On Your Mark....Get Set....

MARK!  Bet you thought I was going to say go!  My Fiber Junkies group met yesterday to have a day of play and experimenting. We decided to explore different types of markers for fabric.  I'm sure if you're a quilter or a sewer, you've been to plenty of conferences and seen many wonderful demos on the newest products.  They pull you right in. You buy 1 of each, bring them home, excited to get started but life gets in the way and they get put on the back burner. When you finally do pull them out you scratch your head thinking - why did I buy these and what do they do?
So yesterday we brought our "known" and our "what do they do" products. I would probably never devote a full day to trying out markers on my own, but with a small group - so many more ideas and such a variety of products.
We all made samplers on muslin - tried things with water, without, with rubbing alcohol etc.
 We blended with Q-tips, our fingers and small brushes.
 Some of the products were made just for fabric, others would need an adjustment to make them permanent.
 We had some black and white prints which really lent themselves to trying the different markers.
 Kate brought a product - Aqua-Flo, great for blending. It was filled with water and using the brush on the end, were able to blend the marks more easily.
The Portfolio water soluble oil pastels were among my favorites. They would have to be fixed with a fixative to make them washable on fabric, but they were so slick to use and blended beautifully - also water soluble for easy clean-up.
The pastel dye sticks from Pentel are permanent and made for fabric.  They go on smoothly and blend well together, also great with water on top of the dry mark.
These are my least favorite - not great color and you are limited to using them with a blended fabric, but they do bring back wonderful memories of when I was a Brownie leader and room mother. I did lots of projects with the kids; they are safe and easy to use, so I keep them around for any future grandchildren!
Caran D'Ache are wonderful on fabric but I've had the best success with them by marking them on a blank silkscreen and using an acrylic medium to squeegee them through to the fabric.  Acrylic medium also makes them permanent.
We used many more things, more to follow in the next post. Hope I wet your your appetite just a little.