Thursday, February 28, 2013

Felting with Fiber Junkies

Fiber Junkies met this week, finally after having to cancel twice due to weather.  Nothing was going to stop us this time, not even these beautiful ice covered trees.  

 Off we went to Gens for our meeting with our more than usual enthusiasm and anticipation.
 This magical ice covered tree right outside of Gens was breathtaking.
 We always have a Show and Tell at some point; Gen pulled these out to show.  I love this piece with the ink jet printed wall inserted between land and sky.

 This was an oldie but goodie - a gift given to her brother who's had it for years. He recently moved and changed his decor so Gen got it back. I love gifts like that especially when they boomerang back to me.
 And now for the felting. We had lots of rovings in all colors.  All we needed was a bowl of hot soapy water and a towel to catch the spills.
 We started with a small piece of batting on the inside to cut down on the time needed to felt these little balls. The batting was then covered with rovings and rolled and rolled.
 Mary showed us some gourds she recently made - split in half.  What a great idea - first thing comes to mind are buttons.
 We also had some acorn casings to hold our felted balls. They were great fun and very easy to make.
It was such a fun day and a fairly quiet activity so we had lots of time to gab and catch-up.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Heading Out

I'm all packed and ready to go, off to Hampton, VA to teach at Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival. It's always a favorite conference of mine and I know it will be great fun.  I finished another sample in bright colors for my Layered Nature-scapes workshop.  It's an Under the Sea theme - something that lends itself to lots of color.  
My underneath fabric was a hand-dyed cotton.  I silkscreened the lacy looking images with textile paint and also a discharge paste to give both a dark and light version.
 I machine quilted parts with a glitzy thread.
 and added a not so cute fish (doesn't even have an eye)  to give some interest in the top part of the piece.
 The sheer - top layer was painted with Dye-na-Flow and had lots of foliage added to it...
 and then laid over the bottom piece.
I purposely left the piece unfinished so the top could be peeled back to see what was going on underneath.
Will be gone until Sunday - have a great week and "see" you when I get back.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Another Sample Done

I took a brief break to visit my daughter in Atlanta who was on winter break....and my darling granddaughter who is 6 months old. I can't believe how fast the time is flying. 
 I was working on some additional samples for a new workshop. This one is finally done, but to continue with the process....after adding images to the underneath layer, I added some to the sheer layer on top.
 I also added some glitzy quilting to some of the areas underneath which shows through the sheer and is very effective.
 I thought it needed something else so I printed off some pictures of mushrooms file.
 I backed them with fusible web and scattered them on the underneath layer.
 They'll also go on top along with other imagery.
 And the finished sample...
which I have bound with sheer fabric also.  I had never used a sheer for binding and really liked it on this piece.  I'm almost done with another sample using bright colors.
Stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Class Sample Continued

After scratching my idea from the other day, I decided to do a large tree using a thermofax screen and discharge paste on the same background fabric. The tree didn't bleach out pure white which was a good thing in this situation. It still had some brownish areas from the original fabric.  I did do a little more shading with paintsticks and outlined it with black thread.
I also screened one of my favorite "tree screens" in black to make it more forest-like.
It's a little messy on the bottom but that will be covered up.
Next step was to lay the organza over the background fabric to see how it looked. It will be subtle.
It does tone it down quite a bit.
Now to add some imagery to the background fabric which will be "underneath" the organza.  I had to remove the organza to do this.  I love the fern below; it's very delicate and doesn't overpower other imagery.
I also want to use ferns in other areas, but they can be crazy to work with. Every time you need to change positions, it means unpinning every leaf -  way too tedious.
So I came up with this neat little trick.  Take a piece of tulle and lay it on your ironing board.
Fuse the fern or anything with lots of parts onto the tulle. The tulle is hard to see below but it's a very pale yellow Make sure to use a pressing cloth as tulle is not heat tolerant and melts very easily. I've always used a men's hankerchief as a pressing cloth;  it's thin and cotton which tolerates high heat.
Cut off the excess tulle making it easier to work with. Now it's easy to pin the entire unit and move it around until you see where it works best. When you've decided on the final placement, the tulle peals off easily with enough fusible web left on the leaf to fuse to your fabric.
Next step is to create more nature imagery to place on top.
Stay tuned.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Layered Nature-scapes Class Sample

    I'm teaching at Mid-Atlantic Quilt Fest in a few weeks and 2 of my 3 workshops are new ones. Bobbinwork uses a small wall hanging and the use of decorative stitches using couching thread. It's one of my favorite techniques so it's been fun to develop a new twist on it.  The other workshop is Layered Nature-scapes and new for me also. I've done a couple of samples but would like some more. This workshop is full with 25 students so it will be big fun with all the painting, sewing and room full of color. I'm anxious to see what everyone comes up with. The concept behind this project is the layering of fabrics using a sheer  over an opaque. Placing nature elements both on top of and behind the organza will give it more depth and interest. 
    Playing with base fabrics was the first step. I chose a very busy pattern which I wasn't sure would work.

 I had 2 pieces of painted sheer organza to try - one very subtle (below)
 and the other in the same colors as the base fabric but very busy.
 It looks quite different when laid over the base fabric...still very busy.
 I took both sheers,  laid the busy one over the left side and the subtle one on the right side. It's amazing how an overlay of sheer can change the whole look.
 I haven't even tried to place any nature designs on or under....I just scrapped the idea, using such a busy fabric was not going to work; I turned to my favorite fabric, the one I always fall back on - Stonehenge series by Northcott. It has the look of a granite wall.
 First I silkscreened a lacy tree on the fabric and added a fabric fern down in the corner.
 I discharged a part of a tree on the left and added more ferns, but the whiteness of the tree image was too strong.
 My son suggested I tone it down by outlining it...
 which I did and shaded it with paintstiks. I still think it's too busy but all of this playing has led me to something else - the lightbulb clicked on! - same fabric, different approach, so once again, I'm scrapping this plan, and starting over as soon as I hit the "publish" button on this blog so wish me luck, will keep you posted.

 Have a great Monday.