Monday, December 31, 2007

Ice Challenge

For this months Fast Friday Challenge, we are supposed to create an abstract based on “fire” or “ice”. It was suggested that we write down all of the words that we associate with our chosen subject and then create whatever image we have imagined.

The words I wrote for ice:

I thought I would include organza to give a layered look, and used a stencil with blue and white acrylic fabric paint to add some texture to it. While I was at it, I added white paint to some bluish green cheesecloth.

I piece the background in gentle curves, layered the organza and cheesecloth over the top, and anchored everything down with some free-motion quilting.

I like the layered textures that I have ended up with, but something is missing. This could be a great background for something else.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Table Runners

I was inspired by Gerrie to make table runners a couple of Christmas presents and one for myself. I used Kristen’s “Mod Log Cabin Table Runner” pattern that she has on her website. If you follow her written instructions, you will get two rounds of logs around each center square, but if you are going by the photo that accompanies the instructions, you will get three rounds of logs (not that it makes a whole lot of difference). I have three rounds. I guess that means I'm a visual learner and don't like to follow directions.

Making the blocks for one runner at a time, then afterward searching my fabrics for something that coordinating and big enough for a border, is not perhaps the best way to plan colors. But I am pleased with how they turned out.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)

Have a great Christmas.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Bag of Stuff, Sérusier, & A Thought for a New Quilt

"Clam Cove" was made for the Quiltart "2004 Bag of Stuff" exchange. It is based on a photo I took while vacationing on the New England coast. It was made while I was transitioning from traditional to art quits. I spent a couple of years making what I consider "inovative" quilts. This is the first "art" quilt that I made. It began as an appliqued landscape that was very stiff and unnatural looking. I decided if realistic wasn’t working, then I would abstract it. I got brave and stenciled designs across it with acrylic paint. Then I got extra brave, cut it up, and pieced it back together. It now lives in Alaska with the owner who put together the bag of stuff that I worked from. I was surprised after I did it that the more abstract version seemed more lifelike than the original version. Making this quilt taught me that it's okay to cut things freehand and allow things to happen. To respond to the piece I am working on, and allow it to change.

This is my interpretation of Paul Sérusier's Le Talisman which I made for a Fast Friday Fabric Challenge a few months ago.

I think it could be interesting to reinterpret the Clam Cove photo using a style similar to the Sérusier piece. This idea will be filed away for another day. I have some Christmas sewing I thought I might do, and then there will be another Fast Friday Fabric Challenge coming up Christmas week, and January I will doing work for Pamela Allen's class.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fabric Shopping for a Class with Pamela

I have signed up for a Pamela Allen online class next month. I took a break yesterday from catching up on housework and other mundane tasks to go shopping fabric shopping at the Goodwill store for her class. Large bold prints are on the supply list, which I don’t have a lot of.

Large bold prints in the ladies clothes section seem to be mostly rayon, which I have a particular aversion to, but I did have rather good luck in the men’s shirt department. I found a cotton print shirt, and a silk shirt with lots of wonderful texture. Not quite the bold prints I was looking for, but I fell in love with the fabrics. The problem is I like them a bit too much and they fit rather well, so I may not use them after all.

I also found a Malaysian batik skirt which will not be kept to wear, because I can’t remember when I fit into something so tiny. It came with a label printed near the bottom hem in the back, which got me searching the internet for more info about this fabric. I found this website about Malaysian batiks which details the process by which they are made, and has beautiful pictures.

I went looking through my own things a bit better, and found a couple of cast off cotton shirts and some lightweight decorator fabrics some of which I had over-dyed. I may go searching through the flat folds of decorator fabrics at the fabric store to see if I can add a few more large scale prints.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Framing a Small Textile Piece

I have a small quilt that I plan to enter in a juried show for small quilts. I thought a frame would make it look less trivial, and more significant as a piece of art. I liked what Pat Dolan did a few months ago with similar sized pieces and decided I would do something similar. I wasn’t able to find a Pre-assembled square frame in the size I needed, so I decided to build my own.

Two sets of pre-cut 11 inch wood frame sections were easy to assemble with a bit of wood glue and plastic pegs that push in to hold the corners together. The plastic pegs don’t make quite as tight a joint as I would like, so I was glad the salesman at the art supply store suggested I color the cut ends with a black marker before assembling it.

The artwork was centered on a piece of acid free foamcore, and lines were lightly drawn onto the foamcore about a quarter of an inch in from the edge under the fabric. Two small holes were made in the foam corner at each corner.
Using multiple strands of thread, the quilt was sewn at each corner through the holes, catching just the back of the quilt and a bit of batting, but not going through to the front of the quilt.

Plexiglas was cut to fit the frame. Standard frame quality Plexiglas was recommended over non-glare, because non-glare is not completely clear, and becomes more evident if the artwork is set back from the face of the plastic.

Plastic spacer was cut to fit around the perimeter of the Plexiglas. What was available was an eighth of an inch wide and a quarter inch in depth. It can be scored with a utility knife and snapped to the correct length. It comes with adhesive on the back which is used to fix it onto the back of the glass.

One more piece of foamcore was cut for a back board, and glazier points were used to hold everything in the frame.

Scotch Tape Roller meant for mounting photos does not work well on the back of picture frames. It seems to need a smoother surface to dispense well. Aleene’s scrappbooking glue worked great to attach the paper dust cover to the back.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Saturn Returns Exhibit & Other Things

Today I went to San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles to see their 30th anniversary exhibit. Well worth seeing if you are in the Bay Area. They’ve brought together an impressive exhibit of many contemporary textile artists. Many artists I’m familiar with, and it was wonderful to see their work up close in person. And many artists I wasn’t familiar with, and their work was wonderful also. The exhibit contained weaving and other textile work in addition to quilts. Pictures weren’t allowed, but they had a full color catalog which I failed to purchase.

I have a small six inch or so quilt made about a year ago which I am hoping will be juried into a show of small quilts. So while I was in San Jose, I went to University Art to purchase a frame for it. Spent way more than I intended to. Perhaps I should make quilts that I think might get framed rectangular so they will fit into standard pre-made frames. Assembling the frame will be a project for this weekend.

I had time in the afternoon and evening to make a block for a traditional album quilt. It’s in a color scheme that I probably wouldn’t have picked, but I think the recipient will like it.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Apple Quilt is Almost Done

It's getting there. I am deciding what if anything I will add to the top right corner; nothing complicated, but something I think to break up the space. The blue print is from a SAQA swap we had at a recent meeting. Is it rust dyed with indigo batik on top? It is a heavier fabric with a damask texture. The floral check is a vintage fabric from my grandma. It was fun to combine different styles of fabrics for this quilt. This is a little larger than what I've been making lately. This will finish about 20 x 16. I will be quilting it tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Fabric Apple

Another apple was sacrificed this morning today to use for a model, and the large apple that will be in the foreground has been started using my brightest reds. I have fused Wonder Under to the batting, and may use my mini-iron to fuse-baste the larger pieces down before I can tuck background pieces in around it.

My husband says I should do something more interesting than an apple quilt, which gave me doubts even before I started this quilt. I think how you approach a subject can be more important than the subject itself. This apple is looking yummier than the real thing. I think I’ll keep going.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Still Life for the Next Quilt

For this Fast Friday’s Challenge we are supposed to do a quilt based on the design concepts of scale & proportion. We have a week to make a small quilt. That leaves me four days since I am starting late (which is normal). Nothing like a deadline and a bit of accountability to get a quilt done. I put together this still life to work from this evening. I will work loosely from the photo.

"Withered Rose" is complete

I have completed my "Withered Rose" quilt. It originally had beads in the center (I showed pictures a couple of blog entries ago). I like it much better with the french knots.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Coordinated Business Card

I designed a business card a couple days ago to coordinate with my blog header using the WordArt tool in Microsoft Word. Half the morning was spent getting a good close-up with enough pixels to be professionally printed. The rest of the morning was spent trying to figure out how convert it all into a JPG file. The printed card will have my phone number and email address under my blog address.

The photo I used is a close-up of the large blue-green teapot from this quilt which I started in a Robbi Joy Eklow class a couple of years ago. It is made from my own pattern which I designed before class.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Embroidering after I have un-beaded my latest quilt

I began this quilt as a challenge for last months Fast Friday Fabric Challenge. The full view of the almost done quilt is show on the Fast Friday Challenge blog. The guidelines for this challenge were to depict motion in a quilt, and use embellishment. I turned to my garden month to see what I could do with a withered rose.

Embellishment isn’t something that comes naturally for me. I admire some beaded quilts. If done well they can be effectively integrated into a composition. But what I have done here seems to be added on. The shininess of the beads is competing for attention with the rest of the quilt. Perhaps I could have made beads work for the center of the flower if the rest of the quilt had embellishment also.

So I have removed the beads and have started replacing them with French knots. The embroidery seems to add the necessary detail without being distracting.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Welcome to my new blog

I have finally decided to take the plunge and create a blog. After Thanksgiving, when I have a bit more time, I will start adding some real content. But I have been thinking about doing this for a while, and thought that there’s no time like the present to get my feet wet.

I’ve tried keeping a paper sketchbook, but haven’t been faithful to it, and can never find it when I want to use it. Sketches and ideas always end up on scraps of paper. So a little more than a year ago, I started keeping a kind of private offline blog just for myself in Microsoft Word. It has been a great place to gather thoughts, quilt ideas, sketches, and finished quilts. Now I will be able to share these same things.

I will keep my posts art and quilt related with lots of pictures. My posts are likely come in spurts like my quilts do. I will post when I have something interesting to share and when I have time.

In the meantime, if you want to see some of my latest quilts you can visit a shared blog for the “Fast Friday Fabric Challenge” group that I belong to: