Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Bunches of blocks

     I have not been able to get the time and concentration to work on a big quilt. My co-program chair and I held a class on paper piecing for our guild on Saturday. We took Lynne Tyler's bird and designed it as a simple paper piecing pattern with three sections and nominal pieces. We used baby rick rack for the legs to eliminate piecing. We used our new Sony Handicam and Epson Projector to show large format what was being done on the machine and cutting. I am not sure every one walked away understanding the paper piecing. Paper piecing is thinking backwards- in reflection. Some people just shut down when they see that. We were hoping to get to do the paper crane pattern (free from Hunter Design), but that did not happen. Here are my samples.
     One thing we did was print the patterns on newsprint. If you buy a newprint pad from the dollar store, cut it 8 1/2 x 11, you can run it through a laser printer, ink jet printer or copier. Makes sewing, folding and ripping out much easier.
Didn't get to sew the rick rack legs on yet.
6" block and 9" block, there is also a 3" one available
     Sapphire Stars, the Kevin the Quilter Mystery Quilt had a surprise clue, which is finished which is good because tomorrow is a new clue.

     Also, Debbie , showed her Scrappy Mountain majesty in florals and I was inspired to make a block. Oh, I want to make more!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Catching Up

     A lot of factors delayed my posts. One, I went on a 2 day painting trip about 1 1/2 hrs. away at the Chautauqua Institute on Chautauqua Lake that my painting teacher holds. She stays a week, but a friend and I could only go two days. We painted outdoors, which is a challenge to stay upright, hydrated, and move all my equipment. I paint in watercolors. My easel is too short and too tippy in a breeze, so I have to rethink things. As you can see, there is an abundance of things to paint. The Institute is only a three month place, but rents rooms to enjoy the rest of the year, so we had the place to ourselves.

     Also, for years, I have used online for free to crop, straighten, and correct the color balance for my posted photos. They now are charging a monthly fee. I do not want to put a reoccurring charge on my card if I can help it. So, I am trying to find another way to do this. I don't want to use the iPhoto on my computer, because it puts the photos in the program and I want to keep my photos in my own separate albums, not application specific. I know enough how programs change and get eliminated, so I want my photos on my own drive in my own folders.
    Does anyone have a recommendation? I may have to break down and buy Photoshop Effects for $80 in order to do my necessary photo work. 
    Somewhere on my trip to NYC, I lost my camera battery charger, so I have had to use an old point and shoot camera with not as good results. I found a new charger on Amazon, and am waiting for that.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mounted and delivered

     The water lily left for the fiber art show along with another piece I made of small "cobblestones" to borrow from Wanda's quilts. The Cobblestone quilt is only 9" made of all the smallest of my scraps I use to sew "made fabric". Those little blocks took a while to get in order with lots of other rejects. The fish head with eye is my surprise element sitting in the bottom left box.
      Fiber art shows require work that has hook and wires, not sleeves, so I had to provide something for the quilts. The water lily quilt used a 12" canvas that I painted (probably unnecessarily). I sewed through the quilt and canvas and secured the stitching with 4 buttons on the back. In case I show these at a quilt show, I will probably have to remove the mounting. The small cobbletones were sewn on a mini pallet that I whitewashed with thin gesso. I drilled little holes, like a button, in the wood and sewed the quilt on.

Big stitch quilting with perle cotton

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Step by step, stitch by stitch

     It is easier to paint a flower than create it in fabric. For the water lily, I originally cut the whole flower outline out and I cut it out of a double layer of Kona white held together by dots of washable Elmers. It needed more dimension, so carefully, looking at the photo, I cut out petals that I wanted to appear closer, again, out of a double layer of fabric. I used a double layer of batting.
     Once it was mostly laid out, I began sewing by using YLI invisible thread to stitch all the edges down. The 401 would not do little zig zags on the sandwich reliably. I went back to the 301 and tacked it all down. Sometimes the needle splays the fibers out all over the place. Hate raw edge. 
    I gathered the Glide threads and started with a light gray for the clouds and water reflections. I did not have a good medium gray- the one I had was too dark. I used some Nickel Glide, white, and two yellows. I used over 2 bobbins worth of thread. The wonderful Singer 301 just keeps chugging and stitching and the slant needle gives me great visibility.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Why small quilts take so much time

     Five years ago, I participated in a fiber arts show in my area. Finally, another one is coming. The pieces are due tomorrow. I made them small because I had two to make. For the past couple of years, I have been stalled making art quilts. I want to make landscape quilts, but I hate raw edge and I hate fusible. I tried to use freezer paper to piece, but it is very rigid looking at my ability.
    Water lilies, sunflowers and tulips are my favorite flowers. I photo them, paint them and draw them all the time. When we were in Old Forge, NY this summer, I took photos on our canoe trip on the Moose River. There were not lots of water lilies this year, but as we slid by some plants, this one water lily was caught in the current of our canoe and the resulting water ripples and sky distortion were breathtaking. I printed the photo and cropped it with paper to get what I wanted. Then I made a bunch of sketches for value and composition and to get it in my head.

      I drew out a full size line drawing and colored it with color pencils to create a map. Then, I traced it backwards on freezer paper so I could have a master drawing to trace and cut freezer  paper parts.

    The size was about 12" because I was going to mount the artquilt on a dimension canvas. Soon, I realized that cutting these tiny bits out of freezer paper, ironing them on the fabric and then cutting the fabric was a very daunting task. I only cut the water, 2 bottom green and a basic shape of the flower out of freezer paper. I tacked these down with washable Elmer's glue and ironed them down. I chose a solid green backing and used two layers of batting. 
Beginning stages of chaos- fabric shrapnel everywhere
     I looked through all my batik and hand dyes and did not find the greys I really wanted, so I had to make do and use a lot of stitching later. Every color was a decision and the whole process was quite exhausting which is why for everything else in the house, I have been a zombie. 
      More progress next tomorrow.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sunflower continued and a Promise

     I am busy putting together two pieces for a fiber art show that is due tomorrow. Everything is a mess. I have been taking some photos of the process which I will share over the next couple of days. However, something is bothering me in blogland. First, let me be positive and show you the continuing growth of my one lone sunflower.

     Ok, here is goes. I love when people leave me comments. If they are not anonymous or no reply comment bloggers, I always answer. It is a privilege. I hope I have earned my readers' trust. I likewise leave comments when I can. The other day, someone sent me a link to a well know blogger who had a terrible experience with rough criticism. I responded with a story of my own to show support and that I appreciated her openness. The next day, I was very surprised to get a response that was canned (marketing) from that blogger  trying to sell me some of her quilt replica merchandise. I had a bad taste, like my heartfelt comment was turned against me to sell to me. 
   I promise to never use my blog to solicit sales or market you- ever! Thank you so much for reading my blog over the years!
   Tomorrow- the art quilts.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Sunny flowers and Sapphire Clue 3

     Fall has some rich colors. I have one large sunflower in front and these yellow happy flowers that this year took over. Must have been all the rain.

      Meanwhile, I finished Kevin's Mystery Sapphire Stars Clue 3. Really had to scrape for that navy as I needed 6 1/2" width. It used the Tri-Recs rulers. And then he sends a surprise clue yesterday, so I am back to cutting.

All quilted and bagged

     Months ago, I finished a top made from charm packs called Katie's Quilt, the pattern free from Missouri Star Quilt Company. I had my mother initially sew the charm squares, which were paired together, and two opposite sides were sewn, right sides together, which she could handle. Then I cut them in half and chained them lengthwise. It is kind of a fun pattern and now with my new Doug Leko Simple Folded Corners ruler, the next one I make, I am using it on the rectangle corners. I already have the pairs of squares ready for my mom to start.
    I had to rush on this one, because my mom promised a cousin I would make her one when she found out the woman has bone cancer. Then she tells me. Anyways, the photos are taken before washing, because I immediately after washing and drying, comfort quilts go in a tote bag and large ziploc bag to stay absolutely clean.
Taken under the garage overhang, so some shadows 
Taken in the sun, but not enough fence to display flat
Back detail

Fun fabric someone donated to me (Gwen) for the back 

Quilt detail
More detail, I changed up the design in each white area, ruler work in the 16 patches.

Friday, September 1, 2017

A whack on the side of the head...

     Or a Kick in the Seat of the Pants. The titles of books from the 70s describe my thinking process since I got back from the whirlwind bus trip to NYC. I remember reading these back then and getting my head bent a bit. And the two books that influenced my drawing dramatically were Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and the two Mona Brookes drawing books. They erupted my thinking attitudes artistically. 
     I have a huge list of quilts that I want to make taped to the wall in my studio and rumbling around in my head. I have a few quilters that have hugely influenced me and continue to do so. So why am I fumbling around, ping ponging from idea to idea? Why have producing comfort quilts sort of ground my gears to a halt? Why have I not accomplished any landscape quilts in two years? Too much swamp and indecision and scattered attempts.
     In particular, when I visited the Chihuly exhibit at the New York Botanical Gardens, I had a lot of cognitive dissonance and connectedness to the visual treats. I am not a writer, so as I tried to jot down my ideas, nothing jelled. However, when I thought of images, similar concepts and visuals came together. You are by now convinced I am looney tunes or you are curious to read on (are you with me, Julie?).
     Chihuly is a master of color, shape, and making more of what you see or think you see. He uses reflections to extend his work and to make that mystery of what is seen give you all sorts of surprises. 
     For example, red flowers reflect in a pool with the underside as part of the whole. The Red Reeds reflection add a whole new dimension. Sheets of polycarbonate make the surface of water inconsequential and fool you as to what you are really seeing. A boat of glass balls becomes symmetrical. 
     More continued whacks next post, I have to go pick myself up.

Red Reeds with reflection
Flowers with underside reflection

With reflection
Shape is extended beyond water surface