Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Twinchies Have Landed!

A couple of months ago, I sent out these:
And in return, I received these:
Twinchies are like inchies on steroids. They are two inch works of art (inchies are one inch works of art). Each one is different. I'm not saying which is my favorite...

Later, when I have more time, I'll post an explanation of just how I made mine.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ghost Leaves Explained

I made a "ghost" leaf for each of the fall leaf blocks.
I used sparkly tulle sandwiched in between layers of hand-dyed cheesecloth.
I used orange cheesecloth on top of the tulle and brown on the bottom.
I had a hard time deciding how to mark the leaf shape so I could sew around it. I finally would up using a freezer paper template ironed on and then I traced the shape on my machine using a straight stitch.

Then I removed the freezer paper and satin stitched around the edge of each leaf shape and stitched a leafy vein in the center of each "leaf."
I cut out each shape and fastened it to the block using beads.
This is a finished block -- note the thick sparkle thread marking the veins of the hand-dyed leaves. I wound the thread on a bobbin and sewed it on each one from the back.
If you click on the pictures, you can view them close up.

Falloween Blocks Unveiled At Last

This is a photo of the fall blocks I sent out. I made one big block and then divided it into four blocks for the four recipients. I will do another post explaining in detail the methods I used to make the "ghost" leaves.
These are the three different Halloween blocks I made for the Halloween block requests. I used beads and fancy threads to make them sparkle.

I made extra Halloween blocks for myself to use in the final project.

And these are the blocks I have received so far in exchange:

The picture doesn't really do them justice -- they're all sparkly because the artists used really cool threads on them. And they're made with really cool hand-dyes and prints.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

First Journal Quilt - "Quilt the Wind"

I recently joined a group called "The After Supper Journal Page" group and the idea is that you make an 8 1/2" by 11" quilt based on a given topic. The rule is that you have to complete it in 2 hours or less and that includes "thinking time."

"Coastal Pine"

The topic this time is wind. We were challenged to "quilt the wind." So I chose one of those
twisted pines that grows in the rocky soil near the California coast. I used hand-dyed fabric that I pieced together for the background.

I used an ugly (ok, challenged) piece for the dirt that I covered with a piece of hand-dyed cheesecloth fused with black Mistyfuse.

The tree trunk and branches were painted on with puff paint that I mixed with Polished Pigments for color. I fused on bits of commercial batiks for the greenery after I quilted the wind in the sky background.

This was a fun project. I'm pretty sure I stayed under the two hour limit, even though I spent a few minutes at a time on it for several days.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Autumn 2009

I am participating in Blogger's Quilt Festival. It is hosted by Amy from Park City Girl and coincides with Quilt Festival in Houston this year. Bloggers are sharing a quilt of their choosing and this is one of my favorite quilts. It features a scene from the front porch of my house during my favorite time of the year. It is small, only 12" by 12," but it packs in a lot of stuff.

"From the Front Porch: Summer"

The dragonfly was made with Angelina fibers for the wings, and a baroque pearl and some other beads for the body
I made the butterflies and some of the flowers using the caning technique with polymer clays. I hand embroidered with floss and silk ribbons
I had some fun with the embroidery buttons on my machine and variegated threads.

Rosie, my Bernese Mountain Dog, was created using fuzzy fibers on a separate piece of fabric, then appliqued to the quilt using a stumpwork technique.

I used hand-marbled , hand-dyed, and commercial fabrics. I had a lot of fun making this and I hope you enjoy it too. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rock On! Art Quilts Come Home

A year or so ago, Quilting Arts magazine issued a challenge for art quilts inspired by rock and roll music. I submitted three:
"The Promised Land" inspired by the Bruce Springsteen song of the same name. I used a lot of different techniques on this one. I printed onto fabric a picture I took of Main Street in Madison, WI for the background. I fused hand-dyed fabric cut out into the shape of the hands and used quilting for definition on them. I fused hand-dyed and inked fabric for the dogs. For the street sign, "Promised Land" and moment graphics, I printed onto organza with photoshopped pictures -- I used a dollar bill for the background of "moment," but you can't really see it. Then I added the little charms that say "hope," "dream," "love," and "believe."

"Helplessly Hoping" by Stephen Stills -- an old love song that is one of the best examples of alliteration ever (IMHO). I used Setacolor paints, Polished Pigments, and Shiva paintsticks for the background. The heart is a little stuffed and painted bit of hand-dye with the wings cut out from fabric that was printed with puff paint and then painted. The harlequin is made from inked and hand-dyed fabric and dressed in cotton sateen that I printed with Stewart Gill paints. I sewed little bells to his hat -- although when they're that small, they don't really jingle.

"Go Johnny Go" was inspired by the Chuck Berry song, "Johnny B. Goode." I used a picture I took of my friend, Robert J. (his latest band is here), and made the entire picture of hand-dyed fabrics and threadwork. I beaded the words so that they would look like a "name in lights."

They didn't publish any of them in the magazine, but they did post them on their website - along with everyone else who entered.

The best part of this challenge was that it inspired me to do some other stuff. I painted this moon and sky on fabric using Stewart Gill paints:

I was thinking of doing a "Moondance" inspired quilt with this....

And I also made another Helplessly Hoping quilt in a bigger format:
I haven't finished it yet, but when I do I'll post a picture and explanation of everything I did.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Eek a Bug Revisited

So I was telling my boss the story of the bug ( you can view the original post here); he was out of town on vacation at the time. He said that I blew it. Big time. It wasn't a clean beer cup that I used.

What I should have done was to have gotten a beer, poured it into the cup, drank it, then used it to catch the bug. Otherwise it wasn't a beer cup at all. Just a cup.

This is why he's the boss and I'm just the manager.

And to think I get paid for all this.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Results From a Day to Dye

By the time I finished rinsing off all the bottles and buckets and stuff that I use to dye, the weather had turned cold, windy, and rainy. I left everything outside on the front porch to batch overnight (my neighbors just love me), but it was too cold. In order for the dyes to fix, they need to batch (a fancy term for damp and left alone so that the dyes can bond with the fibers) and the temperature generally needs to be 70 degrees or above.

Some colors are more particular than others, with the blues needing the most heat. Because the temp had dropped so precipitously, I dragged the whole mess inside Monday afternoon and let it sit in the front hall overnight. I rinsed and washed Tuesday night and this is what I got:

I'm really happy with the two "sky dyes" -- above and below--

But I'm not as happy with the "tree dyes" below -- there's too much pink and not enough blue. Maybe because of the drop in temperature while they were batching...?

But there is no bad hand dyed fabric, just some that is more challenging!

These are the light greens, a darker green striped with turquoise and an orangy pink piece. It's had to tell in the picture, but the greens are all very different. And the orange is lighter than it looks in the picture.

This last is the shibori (pole) dyed piece that I need for something I am in the middle of creating.
It is much lighter than I expected, but it will be just fine for the use I had intended. The thing I don't get is: what happened to the green? I don't see it anywhere. The brown dye had been sitting around in the bottle, so I wasn't surprised that it was light, but the green was freshly mixed. And there is not a trace of it. Maybe because of the temperature? Hmmmm....

And for the record: no, I don't iron any of my fabrics until I am ready to use them. Unless it's something that needs to be heat set. Like paint. Or ink.