All my preparation translated into fairly fast sewing. Of course the rows have to be assembled, layers sandwiched, and then the dreaded machine quilting tackled....
BUT....ONE STEP at a time helps to make it an enjoyable experience...oh except for the machine quilting part. This piece got bigger than I originally planned.....about 65" x 75", so I know I'll be struggling on my home sewing machine. (Character building!!)
I'm just puttering away the last days of 2018, making a couch quilt as an Arizona 'condo warming' gift for a family member.
I tend to break up the tasks of making pieced quilts into smaller segments. Piecing is not my preferred construction method so this approach is less overwhelming and works best for me. My first step was to pull desert sunset colors from my stash and begin to cut the finished 10.75" blocks.
Despite the simple design, after making a few blocks I found it too time consuming to think about what colors and what pattern would be suitable for each one. So I decided to cut each background square first...choosing the colors as needed as they were arranged on the design wall.
After all the squares were cut, I only needed to concentrate on what colors the strips would be for each one. So at Step Two: nearly all the strips are cut and paired with their specific block. On Step Three: I'll decide the placement and sew the strip/strips into each block, keeping in mind the look of each surrounding block. Yup, there's surely a faster way to work, yet this pre-planning way of construction is what works for me. Come back won't you to see how this all comes together. Also check on those dedicated stitchers who had time to work on projects this past week by visiting: Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday and Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday.
This little piece has been on and off my design wall for several months....I couldn't decide if it was finished or not. But this week after the addition of hand embroidered foliage at the lower level and a resolution of how to finish the outside edges, I called it finished.
The roads are still somewhat iffy around here, especially early mornings and later in the day when temperatures drop and the snow melt turns to ice. So...what's a gal to do.....be smart, be safe, stay in studio and finish the last quilt of 2018!
After much indecision over the most artful direction to showcase my digital prints of interesting subjects found as I hiked and drove around our rural mountain areas in Haywood County, NC. I used a variety of green batiks to surround each print. Once positioned on my design wall, I found the white background really helped to highlight the images.
Using a cotton print that appears to be "peeling paint"....I set about piecing this puzzle arrangement together. It took way more time than it should....but that's me....patchwork and math can befuddle me. But I'm happy I took the time to make it work.
Artist's photos printed on cotton, machine stitched and heavily quilted.
I LOVE this photo.....this car was located about a 10 minute walk from our house on Balk Creek Road in Upper Crabtree, NC. Obviously it had been there for years. About 3 years ago someone bought the property and removed, YES...removed it. Too bad.....
Our bad weather is keeping me firmly planted in my studio and with any luck....I'll come up with a design to utilize the many photos I've printed onto fabric of the hidden treasures found during our hikes/walks here in the very rural NC mountains.
I just love these images and of course wish to highlight them as artfully as possible....so out comes some fabric colorway choices.
Or...maybe I'll combine them.
Or....perhaps even go a completely different route......please do come back and check out my decision.
We marked another year of fabulous Fiber Junkies gatherings at Gen's house with our annual Christmas party. As usual we began with Show and Tell.
Denny continues with a mind boggling amount of quilt making....LARGE pieces I might add. Here's another beauty that has been colorfully pieced and appliquéd. She's certainly perfected both skills.
She also completed an ethnic quilt....it was such a pleasure to examine the variety of fabrics and patterns she selected to incorporate into this thoughtful piece.
I especially love this center block representing cotton fields.
But NO...she didn't stop there....she pieced the backing and assembled in the lap-quilting method.
Susan made a table runner....that is so much lovelier than my photo shows!
Gen is still smitten with paper and is having fun using a variety of pens and inks to create these detailed cards.
We love them too and howl at the clever and profound words!
Denny treats us every year to the most beautiful and delicious Yule Log. Believe me.....if we didn't know how yummy it was, we'd have a difficult time cutting into the masterpiece. Denny kids us about the hours it takes to make it....but confesses, it's purchased at a bakery in Greenville, SC.
To start off our pot luck, along with some festive bubbly (our adult beverage of choice for this group), I made herb goat cheese stuffed dates. A good pal (thank you Lynn) gifted me some Palestinian Medjoul dates purchased on her recent trip to the Holy Land. They are said to be the best in the world, and I'll vouch for that! Our meal was beyond delicious.....we all happily groaned as we tried to stand up!!
Our annual gift exchange is always so special. We each bring a wrapped gift.....can be homemade or not. We draw numbers to determine the order of selecting a gift.....one can select an wrapped gift OR steal from someone who has already opened one.....such fun!!
I was so excited to open this gift....but darn it...Gen decided to steal it from me....not to worry......
.....I then took this Prima color pencil set and one of Kate's handmade book covers from Denny!
Denny's contribution was a book that was enclosed in a lovely silk noil paint surface designed bag. She used a metal ruler for the snap closure.
Kate was thrilled with her gift.....hand knitted fingerless gloves made by Gen. This is the only meeting all year where we don't concentrate on fiber experiments....instead we spend time making a list of 'goals' that we'd like to explore in 2019. Hard to believe I'm typing 2019...where did 2018 go?? Many of you readers tell me you enjoy the adventures of the Fiber Junkies....I thank you for words of encouragement.....we will be back in Jan. with more fun ideas to share with you.
I hope I'm not tempting Mother Nature.....but so far we've been lucky....not nearly the snow fall amounts as other areas. But that's so very typical of our mountain weather......over the mountains you see in these pictures, amounts are being reported in double digits.
As long as it continues to snow....rather than sleet! Sleet is what causes those power outages......fingers crossed....so far so good. I'm a VERY unhappy camper when there's a power loss and feel very sorry for the reported 19,000 already without power....yikes....
It's always nice to put the finishing touches on another project. Small, but hopefully a powerful image for anyone familar with marsh life. It brings me such good memories of the Sheboygan Marsh, located near my home town in Wisconsin.
As mentioned on yesterday's post.....I'd cut a section from a larger hunk of ice-dyed silk noil for later use. Well...I got to use it quicker than expected since the previous project was an utter mess.
The remaining piece is rather small, measuring only 21" x 15" which will become even smaller once it's squared and edges finished. I created a larger 'marsh' themed piece last year that was the very first piece sold at my Arboretum exhibit, so I decided to experiment with a similar but different view.
So far this is what I have.....as another idea began to brew....
I keep stumbling over my bin of black and white fabrics...it needs to find a good storage space, but my fabric closet is overflowing already. Now this puny use of those fabrics won't reduce it by much, but this addition might be just what my little marsh piece needs.
I've never been all that keen about fusing......however, one must keep construction time in mind when pricing quilts for sale. Fusing is such a time saver over hand appliqué. Each section is separate and for the time being, just tacked together with a bit of glue stick until it's time to add it to the piece. Stay tuned....and check out what other artists have worked on during this very busy past holiday week: Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday.
One of my favorite fabrics to work with is silk noil. Which is why this material is usually my first choice to hand-dye when the opportunity presents itself.
The piece below was ice-dyed which yielded less of a all over color mixture than is usual. It was a fairly large piece and thankfully a section was cut to use for another project. I say thankfully because this is a MESS.
The intention was to create a morning sky landscape theme. Instead as I machine stitched, the results became big blobs of color and lots of distortion.
Silk noil is notoriously sort of flimsy so being very familiar working with it, I added a stabilizer on the wrong side. However, I used a new (to me) top thread, King Tut by Superior Threads. Clearly it was just too heavy for this fabric. I should have acknowledged that immediately, but foolishly forged on anyway! Lesson learned....come back tomorrow to see what I'm doing on the other half of this fabric.
"The husband" has always enjoyed the challenges of outdoor cooking....nooooo, never using a gas grill. He's a wood smoker advocate. After replacing our 30 year old Big Green Egg with a 'big boy' wood smoker....he can't stop experimenting.
His latest passion focuses on the very high quality meats from Snake River Farms where his first (but definitely not the last) purchase of American Wagyu beef turned him onto this resource that offers higher than prime quality meat.
Kurobuta Rack of Pork right off the smoker
Frankly, I'm not much of a meat eater......and heck, with this huge amount we'll be gnawing on it for quite some time. I must agree....it was very flavorful, tender, juicy, with a very impressive appearance. Sorry....this isn't a fiber related post......rather, a glimpse of the other part of my life!
......I spent my holiday weekend finishing an I-Spy quilt for a family member's baby's arrival. Such a nice way to think about the things I'm thankful for.....family of course tops the list.
I-Spy measures 43" x 50".....I attached a sleeve to allow it to be displayed on the wall, the bright colors are sure to attract the little one's attention. Then as he or she grows a bit older.....it'd be a great cuddle and explore quilt.
I searched for many 'personalized' fabrics...to use. For instance, 'the grandfather" (even past the age of 60) has the nickname of "Pork".
My family has always called me "Mouse"......even to this day! Now the count down for the baby's arrival is on........
We all know the drill.....turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberries, etc. And then there are the pies...... We humans are fed pretty darn well on Thanksgiving day.
But, because we didn't actually cook a turkey this year, Sooty was giblet deprived. But...wait.....she didn't go without a special treat.......
Instead of adding water to her dry dog food....she was slurping on Dog beer. The numerous burps confirmed she enjoyed her meal!
In years past when our families all lived close by, the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving found me in the kitchen. Not so anymore, so what the heck...I guess I have time for some patchwork sewing instead!
Pals Judy, Kate and I pooled our novelty fabric some years ago when we each made I-Spy quilts for gifts during our annual PTA retreat. Since then we've kept them in one large rotating bin....adding and subtracting as we needed to create another baby quilt.
It's my turn now and I have lots of new goodies to add to the bin after some subtracting of pieces to use myself.
What fun....pawing through the collection to find just the right theme for this particular quilt and fussy cutting 4.5" patches.
Another friend, thank you Lynn, gifted me fabric containing the names of Wisconsin cities. I've treasured it for a long time, waiting for just the right project.
The traditional Thanksgiving Day food preparation at our home will be easy with just the two of us and that should leave plenty of time for Black Friday shopping which of course has already begun on so many websites!
The Fiber Junkies have been meeting monthly now for about 10 years. There's been a few changes in membership as life's circumstances have demanded....but we remain an enthusiastic, dedicated six member unit.
This month we met in the dream studio of Susan Webb Lee , believe me.....it's the largest & best equipped one I've ever seen.
If you read my last post, you may have already guessed what our subject was....yup, shaving cream dyeing. It's a technique that's been around for a very long time, but surprisingly, Judy was the only member who had experience. A true pioneer of surface design, she used to teach it in a segment of her mixed media workshop. Denny was the first one to jump in.....spreading the foam onto a plastic tray with short sides. We all followed suit. I have to say, my hands have never been softer at days' end!
I got mine spread and started to drop dots of Dye-Na-Flow onto the frosting filled looking pan.
Susan's husband generously made 'rakes' from wood pieces and nails for us to create patterns.
Isn't this pretty? Now it's ready for printing.
This summer we did some string printing. Some of my rejects were the ones printed on wool felt. Since I use so much of this material to make felted baskets, it made sense to see if better images could be developed on the wrong side.
This wasn't successful either. What I learned: use more color!
But later by working with some of Judy's Createx fabric paint and felted wool, better results were achieved. (Center pieces bottom row)
Others were getting good results printing on cotton.....so after using a LOT more Dye-Na-Flow........
........and other tools to develop patterns, I began to print successfully on cotton.
These colors were swirled with the end of a paint brush.
Denny, the brilliant experimenter she is, brought some stencils to lay directly on her colored shaving cream. Isn't this spectacular!?!
Then she tried some resists and thermo-fax designs.....we were blown away by her cleverness and fabulous results.
Gen showed us some tricks she utilizes for her paper & fabric prints. She's dropped several different colors of Dye-Na-Flow onto a piece of glass. The paint was then covered with another piece of glass, pressing the two together as seen above.
When the top layer of glass is removed...the suction created these textured veins.
A bonus method since one can obtain prints from both pieces of glass. I've spared you from having to look at another 30 or so photos......hoping that just these few will inspire your own play day. One tip....avoid the more expensive 'blue' sensitive skin shaving cream.....buy the cheapest cans you can find, they work great. Visit these blogs to see what other artists have been working on this week: Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday & Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday.