Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Collage Fish - Final






I brought this down to 20 inches square. It was originally 28x 40. That's a lot of waste.
But it brought importance back to the fish.

I wanted a very light finish, but it needed a definite edge.
This is raw edge with an overcast line of three strands of wool.

Time to Finish the FISH

The Seaweed used up all my green embroidery thread.
The purple marking lines are diminished.
What's the hold up now?
Mounting this trophy!

After working yesterday with the shiny white embroidery thread on the edges of the dull birch cloth, I got thinking that maybe this little fellow needed a shiny boost as well. But how much?


After discussing my dilemma with the resident photographer and critic, the answer was simple.
The background was too big.
So the solution?

chop chop chop chop chop!
That first cut was the hardest.


Monday, 20 November 2017

Landscape Sample - Final

It was tough settling to work on this piece. My mind wasn't focused. I took lots of breaks and that seemed to help.
After I finished stitching the background I rinsed off the stabilizer, and let it dry overnight.


It came up a bit stiff and there was some of shrinkage, but most of that will be concealed.

Without the netting the thread colours came up bright.


A few auditions and I started attaching the birch trunks.


Problems necessitate flexibility and this time was no different. There were two issues that arose. I intended to stitch the boles in a loose satin stitch and then stitch over that with a bright, shiny embroidery thread white. Whether it was the residual stabilizer, now in the fabric or the number of layers of fabric itself, the embroidery thread shredded quickly.

I abandoned the satin stitch anchor and just went with the looser irregular zigzag with the shiny embroidery thread to both attached the birch trees and highlight the white. This worked just fine.
The issues with the cloth itself simply meant I had to stitch much slower.

I know there is a scientific or maybe psychological explanation but an odd number of trees always 'feels' more satisfying.


I'm leaving this piece uncropped and unfinished on purpose. Part of this workshop is why I over build my pieces (dimensions) and how to decide how much to crop.

This piece has a decidedly different look when square


and when rectangular.


Saturday, 18 November 2017

New Piece - Sample

I feel like I've done confetti art to death. It was well received by the CQA judges and I'm ready to move on. I'll do more, but just not right now.
After my little venture into the collage world, (fish), I'm not quite ready to jump into a major piece.

I'm giving a show and talk next month at the Dufferin Piecemakers guild in Orangeville and a workshop in the New Year. As the ladies haven't chosen a workshop theme yet I thought I would work up some fresh pieces that would be quick to finish and still have a lot of impact. The Confetti is a choice, but I'd prefer not to go there for a one day workshop.

I photographed this piece of original art a few years ago at a local show. The colour is chunky and I thought collage might be the way to go. Just a few colours but with a major impact.


The Blue and Greens were what caught my eye. ( And the birch of course )


 Confetti method but the pieces are much larger. I started with two colours of chiffon and then moved to solids.


After a false start I went back and added the dark foreground, and then started over with the foliage.


I muddied my 'birch' fabric and added some blue paint to tie things together.
After first covering it all with netting, I changed my mind, removed the trees and used the soluble stabilizer. I wanted a cleaner look without the net. As these pieces are much larger, it isn't necessary to stitch the whole thing.


In some ways it is easier to work with. As long as your fabrics are wet-able there is no issue with removing the stabilizer at the end.


The stitching is lighter and more open. This works up faster.

Collage Fish - Happy News

I ALMOST threw the collage/water background into the garbage the other day. I was getting very frustrated with my inability to remove the purple markings. I had a little chat with a fellow in my guild who has become quite adept with dyeing fabric. He too, was surprised I had difficulty removing the marks which for him, like me, had always disappeared.


I came home and tried steaming the marks. It was worse. I folded the piece and put it on a shelf.

In the middle of the night I got to thinking about how this piece of fabric was so different from anything else I had used, dyed, crayoned or painted. The answer was milk protein.

I had this fabric with me when I attended a natural dyes workshop with Maggie Vanderweit. It ws necessary to soak the cotton fabric in a milk solution to add the animal prtoein needed to get a good dye result from leaves and flowers.

The next morning I put a small amount of hot water in my washer, added detergent and oxyclean and let it soak.  I had nothing to loose, as the piece in this shape was unusable. After a soak and then a short but thorough rinse cycle I took it out of the machine.

It worked.
The piece came clean.  The batting held up well too.

A Win Win day.
So I'm back to where I might just finish this.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Bread and Butter Quilting

This love affair with fabric doesn't come cheap so I'm very happy when custom quilting crosses my path.

I worked with 3 very different pieces this last week and I know the owners will be as pleased as I am with the end results. The largest one, a queen sized flannel took the longest. I could only work at it for a few hours each day. Every circle motif required thorough pinning as the material was so fluid. So it was very slow work. But it was completed with no folds or pinches, top or bottom.



The second, smaller piece was total ruler work. It too was slow but without the constant threat of materials shifting. This was a lovely piece to work on, a combination of 'shot cotton' and Kaffe fabrics.


The last quilt was very different again. With so much white and small accents of colour it appeared very delicate. This I gave a bright pink rayon thread treatment and used light fluid motifs of curls and loops.



All different and each requiring a different approach.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Collage Fish

Still not finished.
I have made progress.
I eliminated the second style of seaweed and concentrated on making the remaining strands realistic. This involved cutting one inch pieces of 6 strand embroidery floss (because that's what I had) and threading it through the yarn, gluing it in place and them 'fluffing' the strands apart.
I'm not finished, but its heading where I want it to go.


HOWEVER another issue has appeared.
I have used the "SEWLINE" brand air erasable pens for several years now. As promised the purple line disappeared, sometimes within minutes and sometimes a day.
This time is hanging around too long.
I drew a straight line on the water fabric to orient the bubbles. I used a stencil to get the bubbles perfect and varied. But the pen marks haven't gone yet. It's been over a week and I'm still holding on to my faith in the pen.


Until that time the marks disappear I won't attach the fish to the background. I may be spending time on something I will throw away but until I make that decision, I keep making seaweed.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Children's Art - Final

My sister finally made the executive decision on how to finish this piece.
So I went with a wall hanging with a simple black denim binding. I kept the quilting simple to give it a scribbled look and padded the 'balloon' a bit.' Roughly 2'x3'.

I understand it may be gifted to the artist for Christmas. 🎅

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Finishing the Collage - Fish

I don't usually work on multiple things at once but I'm bending my rule because I have a quilt on the LA frame that is very slow work. While the detail is simple, circles, the material is flannel. The only way I can control the movement is to pin every inch, as I stitch.

I work on that in the mornings while I'm still 'fresh' and my back is happy. When things start to slow down I turn to my other projects.

There is a quilt on the hand frame and my 'Child's Art' is still waiting a decision from the grandparents. So I went back to the Collage.


I was of two minds with the background, but I ended up going with my hand dyed material and made the decision to add seaweed.



I'm using thick yarn. For this specie?, a small piece threaded through the couched 'stem' and unraveled makes a pretty good imitation of familiar vegetation.


Exactly where the fish will finally fit can't really be decided until all the seaweed is in place.


Friday, 3 November 2017

Snow Days - Picking a Quilt Motif

Having decided awhile ago that I was NOT going to do an all over pattern on this, I searched to see what others had done. Unfortunately the quality of the photos that end up on the Internet and Pinterest were not very useful.
I knew I wanted snowflakes. I decided there was no reason to join them in a continuous stream. That said, they could be any size.!  Snow flakes are really abundant in the CLOUD.

When it came to the large border, (I had added almost 8 inches), I decided to treat it differently, partially to maintain the border identity but also to ensure an good solid quilted edge.

I found this continuous  pattern on line and figured I could adapt it. After playing with the size and the placement of "diamonds" / "stars", I'm now ready to begin quilting this fellow.




Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Snow Days Quilt _ adding the border

While I still really like this quilt I decided it was just too small.


So I spent a long time deciding how I wanted to enlarge it only to come to the realization that I didn't have enough of any of the fabrics. I had worked primarily from fat quarters or single yard pieces, (and shirts).

I went back to my quilt store, Caroline's Quilts in Cambridge and came away with almost the same materials AND some WOOL batting. With the cost of that batting I committed to hand quilting this guy.


With the addition of the three bands, white, grey and brown, the size went from 64 inches square to 86 inches square.
Now it's definitely a bed quilt.
And Now it's on the FRAME. All set for winter mediation. 😌


Friday, 27 October 2017

Children's Art - Day 3

So here's where I'm heading;


            a narrow, 1 inch border, random arrangement of 1 inch squares.

My intention is to sash between each with black wool, in keeping with the original art.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Childrens' Art

All of us have been delighted and amazed when our wee one brought home school art. Some delight us with the colour and some amaze us with the interpretation of subject. Some display them for the appropriate time or until they are displaced by another equally wonderful picture. Some of us keep them forever.

I happened upon this picture when visiting with a relative. It was crayoned by a 4 yr old and held a place of honour, on the wall under glass.



I'm sure you'll agree the colour blocking is wonderful and the lolly pop red of the Balloon and the colours in the basket just draw the eye. So I decided to gift them with my rendition of their grandson's work.

However........what size?
The same size,.. 8x12 might be interpreted as a replacement for the original. That's not my intention.



This is enlarged to 36x48. With a suitable border it will be large enough to be useful as a lap quilt as they watch TV.


The basic outline is very simple so the fabric choices become very important.

I tried to use only my own material as some of it had the scribbly and patchy look I wanted to imitate.
And seeing as this quilt will be washed I rewashed all my own painted and dyed material with sythropol.

Using the master outline I quickly cut the different shapes.


The basket material worked up a bit TOO regular, but I can live with that.


So here are the colour blocks in place.


They're only glued at this point while I decide the rest.
The heavy black lines?
I have several choices. I could satin stitch or I could couch some stands of wool in the place of the rayon marks. That's the way I'm leaning at the end of this day.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

My Mother was a Coho, my father.....................




I just couldn't leave this unfinished!!!!
A good 6 hours yesterday and another five hours today. I'll have to think on how to mount and finish this.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Fabric Collage with the Girls

I had long admired from afar the collage works of some very familiar artists who are working and publishing today: Laura Heine, Susan Carlson, Joan Colvin, Dale Fleming, Ruth McDowell and David Taylor, to name just a few.

More than one of my small Fibre Arts group had taken a workshop along these lines so we decided to "Wing It' with our own compositions/patterns. After one afternoon gathering to make sure we were all on the same design page, we had our day at the quilt shop, Creative Sisters in Kitchener, where we rent their classroom work space.
What could be better? Lots of space, light and conveniences and if you need fabric?...it's ten feet thru the doorway.
Just a few finished and some will be a long time completing their work but here's the results of about 6 hours of HARD WORK. At times it was so quiet..........😊

I grouped the progression of each member's piece. Some seems to hardly change and other flow to a colourful completion. Some day in the future, I'll revisit these in their finished and mounted form Enjoy!