Monday, March 29, 2010

More About Those !#@%$#&*!! ATCs

I finished some ATCs using the "fabric" I was whining about in the previous post.  I mounted some smaller squares on blue card stock (because it's "pond-like") and added little frogs.  I also gave them even more texture by running a line of glue on them and sprinkling tiny beads onto the glue.  A fun project except for the tiny beads that got all over my cutting mat.

I tried punching out dragonfly shapes from the "fabric," but it didn't work at all and plugged up my punch.  I spent half an hour trying to pick out the bits.  I won't try that again.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Working on ATCs

I've been working on some ATCs (artist trading cards) to trade at Festival in Chicago and for an online swap I'm thinking of participating in.

I had some problems with the ones on the left.  I layered puff paint over some tulle on fabric on cardstock.  Then I put a couple of layers of paint over the whole thing.  Trouble came when I had a bright idea:  instead of cutting the cards with scissors, I decided to take it to work and use the paper cutter.  Easy - right?  Nice, even, straight 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch cards.  Ha!  In my defense, I rarely use the paper cutter.  It's not my job.  So when it came time to measure, I cut one of the strips at 2 inches instead of 2 1/2.  So I lost three potential cards.  Now I have to think of this as an opportunity to use smaller pieces somehow.  More later...

Thursday, March 25, 2010


This week, the Creative Cue is "rich."  I thought of a dragon guarding his treasure.  He was smiling, but I had to do some erasing, and he must not have liked it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Last Snow Dye (Maybe...)

Yesterday morning, I woke up to this:
Which led to this:

Which led to these:

Chocolate brown, grape, golden yellow on scrunched cotton -- this is the only one with the crystalline patterns from the snow.  The rest have some nice colors that separated out, but not much of the snow effects.  The snow was pretty slushy and melted pretty quickly.  I probably could have piled more on top and gotten better results -- Oh well, next time (year?).

Scarlet and sapphire with a little grape

These two were both pleated, then I used sapphire, golden, and lemon yellow.
Scarlet, golden and lemon yellow on pleated fabric with snow on top.  It's much more orange than I thought it would be.

A little bit of snow was forecast and I toyed with the notion of prepping some fabric and dyes Friday night.  But I was afraid I would jinx any snowfall by preparing for it, so I didn't.  You can tell that Friday nights are pretty wild up here in North Sodom and Gomorrah, if soaking fabric and mixing dyes are on the program (why d'ya think they call it Wisconsin?).

Oh -- and I finally saw one of these!  Sorry the picture's a little fuzzy -- my camera doesn't really do far away and he (she?) took off when I got close to the tree.  So I guess spring is finally here.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Creative Cue: Tip

It snowed this morning and I took these pictures of tulips coming up through the snow.  I didn't plant these; they came with the house.

Friday, March 19, 2010

TAST Week 2 (Still a Bit Late)

TAST 2010 Week 2 is the Knotted Loop stitch (find it here).  In the previous post (whew -- two in one night!), I blogged about the CQ 4x4s and TAST.

This stitch is worked from right to left -- you can see in the top photo that it's a little rugged at first, but then it evens out.  This would be a good stitch for a caterpillar, or maybe a mustache.  Or a leaf -- see the shape in the second photo.  I like it a lot in the variegated thread.

I'm not sure I did it right because there appears to be no knot, but...I like this stitch!

TAST 2 Week 1 (Just a Little Late)

Over at Pintangle, Sharon has started a weekly challenge where she provides a stitch, some samples, and (most importantly) directions for the stitch.  It's called "Take a Stitch Tuesday" or TAST.  The first week was the diamond stitch -- you can read about it here.  I'm a bit behind because she's already done week three and I'm just starting week one.
 I'm still working on those !#*#$@!! CQ 4x4s (you can read about them here) and I decided since they weren't going to finish themselves, I'd use some of them for my experiments in these new stitches.  The top photo shows my first attempt.  Not so good.  So I got out a big honkin' needle and some fat thread and the second attempt was much better.
And did I take out the first attempt?  Nuh uh, not me -- I added beads and made it beautiful!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fun With EQ6

I went into work late today so that I could go to a class on EQ6.  Mill House Quilts in Waunakee, Wisconsin, offers some free classes that meet on a monthly basis.  I have been going to the piecing one for years -- I really look forward to show and tell to see what the members of the group are doing.  They've offered the EQ6 class for a while and I know both of the women who teach it, but I haven't had the time to go.  

Today, I made the time and I am so glad.  In an hour with Fran, I learned more than I had in three years of dabbling around in the tutorials that come with the program.  And I had fun.  We did the pinwheel border around this block, but I was empowered and put the hearts in the middle to finish it out.

I am not ignorant about computers -- I used to work for a software company in the quality assurance (SQA) division and I tested graphics programs.  But EQ6 has confounded me since day one.  Today I was informed that it is not me, but EQ6 -- because it doesn't work like any other graphics program.  What a relief!  I am so happy to know that I am not old and stupid.  It's the program!  Phew.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod

"Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod Set Sail"
24" x 24"
Machine pieced and quilted, raw and turned-edge machine appliqué, commercial and hand-dyed cotton fabrics, textile paint, inks, beading, rayon and cotton threads

Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod
 (Dutch Lullaby)
by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod, one night, sailed off in a wooden shoe;
Sailed off on a river of crystal light into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going and what do you wish?" the old moon asked the three.
"We've come to fish for the herring fish that live in this beautiful sea.
Nets of silver and gold have we," said Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod. 

The old moon laughed and sang a song as they rocked in the wooden shoe.
And the wind that sped them all night long ruffled the waves of dew.
Now the little stars are the herring fish that live in that beautiful sea;
"Cast your nets wherever you wish - never afraid are we!"
So cried the stars to the fishermen three - Winkin', and Blinkin', and Nod.

So all night long their nets they threw to the stars in the twinkling foam.
'Til down from the skies came the wooden shoe bringing the fisherman home.
'Twas all so pretty a sail it seemed as if it could not be.
Some folks say 'twas a dream they dreamed of sailing that misty sea.
But I shall name you the fisherman three - Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod.

Now Winkin' and Blinkin' are two little eyes and Nod is a little head.
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies is a wee one's trundle bed.
So close your eyes while mother sings of the wonderful sights that be.
And you shall see those beautiful things as you sail on the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three - Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Making a Journal Cover

I made a cover for my favorite journal with the painted fabric in the previous post.  I included a small pocket on the spine for a pencil.  I needed a place to put the pencil, but clipping it to the pages makes the book flop open and then it's not flat, so the spine seemed like the best place for it.

The first thing is to measure the book and cut a piece of thin batting and some Pellon Decor Bond for the back to stabilize it.  The batting and stabilizer should be at least an inch or so bigger than the total measurement of the journal.  I set the batting on top of the Decor Bond, with the shiny (glue) side of the Decor Bond facing away from the batting.  Then the painted fabric went on top of the batting, right side up.

I auditioned threads and finally went with the shiny rayon variegated thread at the bottom of the picture. I thought that it would complement the metallic paints and I knew that the rayon thread would be easy to sew with.  I quilted the whole thing with wavy lines and pebbles.

After quilting, I pressed with a hot iron from the top to flatten it a bit using a bit of baking parchment underneath the Decor Bond just in case the glue wanted to stick to my ironing board.

I set the book on the quilted piece and drew a chalk line all around.  Then I cut it down by lining up my ruler on the chalk line and trimming it to 3/8 of an inch outside of the chalk line.

I took a spare unquilted piece of the painted fabric and cut it about an inch larger than the measurement of the spine of the book.  I turned the top (short) edge 1/4 and then another 1/4 inch and stitched it.  Then I pressed each long edge under 1/4 inch and put a 1/8 inch pleat down the center.  I used the book to measure where the spine would be and topstitched the pocket down each of the long sides, leaving the bottom edge even with the bottom.

I set that aside while I got the inner flaps ready.

I wanted to use a marbled fabric on the inner flaps because old books were often marbled on the inside covers.  So I dug through my stash of marbles and found this one.  It is one of my favorites and the colors complement the colors on the metallic piece.

I cut two strips that were about an inch longer than the book is high and about half as wide as the book is.  I pressed a quarter inch and then another quarter inch and sewed that down along a long side of each piece.

I cut them down to fit the quilted piece and with right sides together, lined them up with the outer edges.  I put a piece of lining fabric cut exactly the same size as the quilted piece with the right side facing the quilted piece on top of the marbled flaps.  Then I stitched a 1/4 inch all around the edge, leaving a space open at the top for turning.

I trimmed the batting and metallic fabric close to the stitching and clipped the corners.

 After I turned it right side out, I pressed in the seam that was left open and topstitched the edge shut (I used a little glue and some pins to hold it while I stitched.  Then I pressed the lining to the Decor Bond for a neat fit.

Now my favorite writing and drawing journal has a pretty cover and a slick place for my favorite pencil or pen.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Metallic Paints on Fabrics

Over at Three Creative Studios, they're offering a Technique of the Month.  I wasn't going to do this because I already have enough to do, but this month the technique is painting on fabric with metallic paints.  

I love metallic paints on fabric and decided that I just had to do this one.

I got out my old Jacquard Lumiere paints and my new Setacolor Shimmers.  I used a plain white PFD fabric and a chunk of Kona black.  First I doused the white fabric in diluted Liquitex soft body acrylic in Cadmium Yellow.  I used some purple on the black.

I scrunched up the wet fabrics on my recycled ground turkey palettes and added more color with a sponge brush.  Both got some Lumiere blue.

The yellow got more Lumiere in Citrine.  It wound up getting a bunch more coats of diluted Lumiere because I wanted to change the hand of the fabric and make it more stiff for a specific project I had in mind.

The black was painted with Setacolor Shimmer in copper, then rescrunched and painted with some more of the copper.  I let it dry while still scrunched, then heat set it.

I really like the way the black turned out with the blue and copper paints.

I also took some pale hand-dyes and wet them with water, then scrunched them in my handy palettes.  I painted them lightly with full strength Setacolor in Pearl. and let them dry.

They have very subtle sheen and it was perfect for this project.  I keep running out of light fabrics, so these were a nice addition.  I used the greenish one for the triangles in the outer middle sides.

I used the blueish one for the small triangles in the dark outer triangles.

As always, if you want a better look at any of these pictures, just click on the one you want to see close up.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And the winner is...

Tropical Robin!  Of  Queensland, Australia!
DH was busy, so DS#2 got out the Cat in the Hat hat that he made in middle school home ec (except now they call it family and consumer living) and we dropped in the names. 
Then he drew out Robin's name.  So -- Robin -- your email is not available from blogger, if you send me an email with your snail mail address, I will send you this postcard.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Last Snow Dye

For this year anyway.  I love the mix of colors in these -- there is purple, turquoise, and some ultramarine.  I like all the greens and browns where it mixed with the orange.  The orange is a pure MX color, but the blue is a blend, hence all the cool colors.

So the forecast was for 50 degrees and sunny, so I was going to take some (unpaid) time off work and play in the dye studio.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, I'm not sure exactly how I feel about this yet, I was way too busy and could not take any time off work.  However, the forecast was wrong and the afternoon was damp, dreary, and decidedly not in the 50s.

So I did just these two pieces with the dwindling snow and some soft orange and sapphire dyes.  The snow was like tiny ice pellets and dirty (dog hair and who knows what).

I used the same technique for each: accordion folds and poured the dyes over in a stripe pattern.  
I let them batch inside on top of some green gradations I needed for something else I'm doing.

These are navy and lemon yellow with a tiny bit of golden yellow to make it interesting.
I have finally figured out how to dye light colored fabric.  I prefer really deep saturated hues and it's emotionally difficult for me to mix pale colors.  But the dark colors don't look good without the contrast of light.

 I mix my dyes in plastic beakers or used Chinese soup containers (they have really great fitting lids).  There are always drips and dribbles of color left in the container after I pour out the dye.

So now I mix a half cup of water in the container and roll it around to get all the color washed off the sides and into the bottom and then scrunch soda-soaked fabric into the pale color left.  I don't have to mix up those watery colors and I satisfy my need to avoid wasting any bit of dye.

It's supposed to rain all week, so all the snow will melt.  The best part is that the forecast (however inaccurate) is for unseasonably warm temps.  That just makes me happy.