Friday, April 27, 2018

What to do....?

My paternal grandmother made quilts along with knitting and crocheting. I never knew her, only met her once when I was 6 months old. She lived in Seattle and myself in New York. When my parents divorced, my dad went back to Seattle and that is where the story ends...well..... for at least 30 years anyway.

When my father re-entered my life, his stepson who has become like a brother to me....started cleaning out things from the old homestead.... thought I should have them...All kinds of treasures - some good and some not so much. The old quilt above was actually used as a batting for another quilt. The other quilt was tied and not so pretty....but this one was so worn....
and stained...guess my grandma thought (like so many did during the depression)..."waste not, want not". Everything was recycled.
There were some pretty areas in amongst the rips and tears...The only downside - they were very small. I wanted to preserve as much as I could...but what to do. I came upon the idea to make cards out of the very small areas. I used photo insert card blanks.
I used some card stock paper to make a template with an opening of the card - 4 1/2 x 3+ inches. It helped to single out good areas that could be used. I used a new blue marker which has a fine tip to trace around the inner opening.
You can see how much of the quilt was damaged.....After the small piece was cut it out (leaving 1/2" extra all around) I flipped it over and tried to clean it up.
To my surprise, there were layers and layers of other quilt blocks and odd pieces of fabric.
The different layers seemed to have different kinds of thread...some embroidery floss, some yarn...along with different size stitching which led me to believe, this quilt was worked on by several hands.

There was a lot of this striped fabric used as a base for stitching...honestly not worth saving...looks good in picture but practically fell apart in my hands.
After the initial rescue of the good areas, the piece was flipped over and a piece of sewing weight fusible web, ironed on back (left pic). It gave it more stability and those areas that were thin or slightly coming apart, were held together.
They were then slipped into a card blank...some had elaborate stitching...
Some not so much...but I loved them all for the history and memories they represented.

Some I will keep as a memory of the grandmother I never knew...
and some will become gifts or I'll put in my booth at Woolworth.
My first thought was to get rid of this quilt that was so damaged...but am glad I held on to it as a piece of my family history. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Fiber Junkies Collage - Pt. 2

Well, this really isn't part 2 as we're continuing 2 weeks later at our April meeting of Fiber Junkies. We decided to do some more experimenting on the art of collage this meeting.
 Denny finished the piece she started at the last meeting and it came out great.

She also went big this time and came with the background already prepared and in place. It was a wonderful collage of different fabrics including sheers, interesting papers and pattern pieces. The white area is where the focal point will go.

 Denny is creating a dressform out of various prints and solids. I believe she found the pattern in Susan Carlson's 2nd book on collage. Denny used a plastic film to draw a picture of the form which she then laid on gives you a good feel as to what it will look like....proportions etc.
 She then used her Go Baby die cut machine....
 to cut different size flowers in prints and solids to fill in the negative space. She used Tacky glue on the back of each fabric to hold in place. There are many ways to put pieces down permanently - fusing etc. but this is quick, easy and very effective.
 Gen was working on a wonderful bird on canvas board....what a cute face (both Gen and the birds!)
 Mary had silkscreened this felt with adhesive and then applied foil to create a beautiful backdrop for the moon and trees....many more trees were added, allowing the moon to peek through.
 Me and my love for trees...found this great picture...which I enlarged in photoshop and printed off (in 4 sections).
 I used clear plastic to trace it, allowing me to see how it looked on top of the fabric.
 I also did a tracing of the trees on tracing paper so I could shade them with a charcoal pencil.

I laid the plastic film over the background fabric to make sure the bears would be peaking through the trees. I've used this plastic for years as a design tool. It's a heavier plastic easily found in chain sewing stores....often used as a plastic tablecloth...@ $3 a yard and worth its weight in gold. I will now go back and fill in the tree area with different fabrics...don't know if it qualifies as a collage but I'm liking it so far.
And meanwhile.... back at the ranch, Denny is busy cutting flowers and placing them on her fabric.
This was one happy looking piece...can't help but smile when you look at it...Anxious to see how this and all the others turn out. I have company coming on Sat for a week so my bears will have to be on hold for a while.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Fiber Junkies - Collage

Fiber Junkies met a while ago to experiment with collage techniques. I've been busy getting ready for company and left my posting go and then realized -  FJ was early this month and we would continue with a double post coming up.  We actually meet tomorrow
In the's a quick catch-up....As in all our meetings, once we hit the studio, we don't want to leave so have switched our show and tell to "first thing" when we meet. Mary did this piece for her son who lives in San Francisco (map in background) and loves to ride his bicycle. I think it's a great piece (made of paper)
Mary made this piece out of her extensive Japanese fabric collection (which she inherited). Mary is not a lover of Japanese fabric but she has managed to make some beautiful pieces from it.
and another quilt from Mary...started at our most recent retreat the beginning of March. she speedy !!
Here is Denny's latest piece made in a batik workshop. The workshop itself ran for a number of weeks, allowing time between each session for the fabric to dry and cure before adding the next layer.
It's absolutely amazing to see....we had her stand with the light streaming in from a window behind her - looks like stained glass.
This is Denny's first attempt at batik....
So into the studio we went and started our collages. Denny and Gen had brought many books to share on the favorite was by Elizabeth St. Hilaire who works in papers she's painted and prepared herself.

On the right is a collage Gen had finished...

I particularly loved the hand stitching on the collage (on left). Denny was using Tacky glue to adhere the pieces to the background fabric.
She had a huge bag of tiny pieces left over from Flying Geese blocks....apparently, these tiny pieces are called - "goose poop"....Who Knew ?
Well, the goose poop was fun to work with;  Denny said it was so relaxing and kind of a no brainer as you just grabbed a piece and glued it down.
You can see that even though it was a no brainer, there's still a plan in place...pretty colors.

Gen showed us some rollers she had made to use in collage....and Yes...they are toilet paper rolls.
I really love this one with the fuzzy yarn which must give a really interesting texture when used.
Kate was working on a re-purposed piece started long ago...
and here is my silly piece. I really didn't know what to do or where to start but my wonderful friends got me started with fabric from Kate and "goose poop" from Denny. Tomorrow I have a whole new direction which I'm anxious to share.
Til next time or tomorrow....

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Oceans of Fabric

Recently, most of my studio time has been taken up with making drapes for the family room. We have changed our look to something a little lighter and more updated. I found this drapery fabric in Joannes...and with a coupon was able to get it for 50% off...still $15. a yard but a good deal I thought.
Drapery fabric runs 54" wide so it can be difficult to manipulate... It's pretty much straight sewing but for me the hardest part is making the lining lie flat on the drapery fabric so it doesn't buckle when sewn. For this you need a space to work where fabric can lie flat.
I have big tables my husband made but still not wide enough....sooo...
I was able to put 2 of them together - luckily he made both of them the same height.
Of course, Fraggle had to supervise...
This part takes hours....cutting the lining, catching it under the side fold and ironing, ironing like there's no tomorrow to make sure it all lies flat....and pin, pin, pin...
and carefully lugging it over to machine for sewing. My studio was in shambles for almost 2 weeks...I moved bridge tables next to my machine so I had a place to lay fabric while sewing...Well, finally...I finished...and
this is the BEFORE...a much darker and more formal look...
and this if the AFTER. I went for full length drapes as I really liked the fabric and thought in this case - more was better. I also took down the wooden blinds which I loved and hated to part with but everyone voted and liked the "no blind" look better.
The drapes go very well with new chairs, rug etc...and am showing this picture to point out the pie crust table...which I know might be dated but has lots of memories. I grew up with that table and one of the funniest memories ..... when I was little my mother used to buy Nabisco Sunshine Crispy Crackers and the box had a waxy kind of paper to trace with a pencil. One night I laid this waxy paper on the table and proceeded to trace the whole thing...only to find when lifted up I had carved the words Nabisco Sunshine Crispy Crackers into the table. It has since been refinished but mama wasn't too happy with me and my art skills.
So one good thing about getting rid of the blinds was the view out back is now more visible...
So back in my studio making quilts again...feels good to check the "drapes done" column !!