Monday, July 25, 2016


Productivity has been lacking in my studio for far too long!  I'm grateful to those of you who have reached out asking whether my vision has finally improved after cataract surgery.  The answer is sadly and rather frightening, NO. I'm halfway through the "aggressive treatment" the doctor has now prescribed.  It's in the form of 2 different eye drops, 4 times a day, but has yet to help.

So, my love of handwork is now on hold until there is a solution.  Naturally, I can't just sit around moaning and complaining.....instead, my attention will shift toward pieces that can be completed mostly on the machine.  Certainly not my first choice in construction methods, but who knows this may lead to a whole new style!
 This hand dye-painted cotton was machine quilted to provide a 'water' background.  
Years ago while visiting an antique filled barn in Wisconsin, this goofy structured stainless steel fish caught my eye.  Well....not necessarily because I liked it, but because it's just the kind of offbeat item 'the husband' appreciates.  So it came home with me.

Perhaps the design has grown on me after all these years because it became the inspiration to feature a skeletal fish in my latest piece.  Obviously, this is just the starting point, where size, shapes, and colors are being auditioned.

I'm jumping ahead now in the process to show you a technique I'm in the process of incorporating. After the main elements were secured to the background, it became evident that a bit more interest/detail was needed.  Normally, I'd have hand embroidered underwater foliage and beaded more details.  Instead, it was necessary to come up with another method.
 What you see in this photo and the one above is the fusible side of Wonder-Under that has been stenciled and painted with acrylic paint.  I'd read about this ages ago and quickly painted up several large sheets but never used them.

The idea is to pull away the now painted fusible web from the paper backing, cut into shapes, and fuse in place.  HA!  Removable was VERY difficult, destroying about half of everything I tried.  Did I use too much paint?  Not the correct type of paint? Perhaps thinning it would have been desirable??
Fusing was an even worse mess.  Neither using Wonder-Under (waste) paper (saved from fusing other projects) or a Teflon Press sheet were foolproof ways of protecting the iron.  Also, more than half the 'weeds' pulled off the fabric (after allowing them to cool) when I   carefully removed the protective covering. AND for goodness sake, I learned to make sure EVERYTHING previously fused stayed covered. Otherwise the paint would melt right onto the iron if it hit one of the transferred pieces. 

I like the idea, but clearly there are tricks that weren't mentioned when I first read about it.  Have you used this technique?  If comment with suggestions, tips, ideas.....I'm sure all the readers would benefit.


Robbie said...

I have used painted wonder under but I was fusing the entire or parts of it on background fabric. I've not cut out shapes before. I have used Misty Fuse (painting the same way) and that is easy to cut specific shapes from (it doesn't have any backing). Your piece looks good!!!

margaret said...

it has been a journey you were on but so worth it as the finished piece looks so good. Re ironing when paint etc are involved I found baking parchment worked mind you that was a good few years ago but think it would still work.
I do hope those drops start do do their job and help soon with your eyes as I know how much you love to bead your makes.

PAMELA said...

My preference is viesofix because it is not as gummy as bondaweb and it sticks fabrics together readily. Your fish piece is eye catching. Good luck with restoring your vision and keep exploring methods to enjoy your passion.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Sometimes we need a limitation to push us into a new direction or give us permission to pursue and or explore in depth something we've only scratched the surface of. I like how this one is coming along.

I experimented with this painted fusible web technique but it was quite awhile ago. As I recall I used small scraps of fusibles and both acrylic paint and marbling paint. The fusible lifted from the paper as it wrinkled up from the moisture of the paint so removal wasn't an issue. I also had no issue with fusing it on (I either used parchment paper or a teflon sheet). The one thing I noticed that I didn't like was the longer I heated it the shinier the paint got. And as you mentioned, if you use this method you will always have exposed fusible on top of your quilt and can never touch it with an iron without covering with parchment or teflon pressing sheet. I was hard pressed to see the appeal and advantage of this technique although I got an interesting effect layering strips to build up a tree stump. Just thought I could achieve something similar without the negatves.