Wednesday, October 31, 2018

STRESS FREE SEWING

It was the wish of my friend, for whom I was dispersing her lifetime of quilting materials, to use some of the fabric for community quilts.  There were plenty of smaller amounts of older fabrics that were suitable.

My small group, The Fiber Junkies, took a meeting day to organize, color coordinate, and cut enough fabric for 8 kits, which included backing and binding.

At our most recent PTA meeting we began the process of sewing them together. 2 kits that we didn't get to that day came back home with me.  I spent the last 4+ days assembling/quilting and binding them.  It was such a relaxing time....not having to select fabrics or work out the design, instead I could simply enjoy carefree sewing.

The next stop will be the Asheville Quilt Guild where they will be appropriately distributed with size/color in mind.

Perhaps the next time you are looking through your stash, wondering what you are going to do with all that fabric.....think about seeking out one of the many groups that coordinate community quilt and offer your help.

UPDATE:  Here's a link to a project supporting those who lost their homes in the Carolinas due to the latest hurricane:   https://frommycarolinahome.com/2018/11/02/carolina-hurricane-quilt-project/

To see what other artists have made this week visit: Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts.

Friday, October 26, 2018

"BOTANICAL MAGIC"

 Several years ago I became determined to learn eco-printing.....and was relentless in bugging my fiber buddies to take up this technique.  Kate, Judy, and I did our first marathon 3 years ago at Kate's place on Folly Beach.  We realized it took lots of experimenting and more knowledge than we had.  However, we came away with some successful pieces.....and haven't stopped experimenting ever since.
Eco-printing (dyeing) involves the transfer of plant pigments to cloth or fiber with or without the use of mordants and other substances.  Here I've soaked a piece of wool in a soy milk bath, sprinkled with cumin and arranged pine needles over on top.  It was then rolled around a wood dowel, secured with string or rubber bands. At this point the bundle can be placed in a steamer (or a large turkey roaster pan) containing a vinegar/water solution and steamed for 1-2 hours.
In this case, we used a large pot filled with a rich iron/vinegar water solution on a stove top and simmered the fabric bundles for about an hour.
Tongs are used to transfer them to an old cookie sheet to cool before unwrapping.
After removing the plant material, without rinsing the fabric, it was hung to dry overnight. The following day the fabric was washed with Orvis soap to remove any remaining debris & iron/vinegar/etc.
As I gathered fabrics for a new project I was kinda surprised at how little I have left in my once fairly large 'magic' stack.  I love working with the eco-prints and have created a lot of wall art featuring the fabric. I guess it's time to get the pots out again!!!
Here two prints are teamed up with rust/brown colorways of  batiks.  They were printed on a lighter weight, good quality burlap type fabric...not really sure what it was but it had a soft, drappy hand which printed beautifully and provided extra texture that a traditional cotton weave wouldn't have.  Happy with the results....I kept going and the finished piece is shown below.
 "BOTANICAL MAGIC" - 22.5" x 26.5"
Natural cotton burlap eco-printed with leaves & pine needles. Steamed in vinegar/iron solution to transfer their natural tannins to the cloth. Imported cotton Batik surround the magical prints. Machine quilted with metallic thread.

DETAIL








Monday, October 22, 2018

PTA - OCT. MEETING - COMMUNITY QUILTS

We had a very busy meeting this month.  Of course it starts with show and tell....then we moved onto sewing the community quilt kits my other group (Fiber Junkies) made using surplus fabric from my friend's stash.
 Barbara wowed us with this disappearing 4-patch made from shirting fabric samples.
 Linda Cantrell, well known nationally for her detailed humorous applique story quilts has been on a quilt hiatus for several years.  BUT...yeah....she's back!!  Here are several of the blocks she shared with us based on nursery rhymes.  One needs to examine each block for a good long time to appreciate the attention to detail.  For instance, Linda loves Boston Terriers.....and is a dedicated volunteer for the Boston Rescue Group.
 Can you name each of the nursery rhymes these blocks depict??



 Laughter, plenty of food, and beverages are always a staple at our meetings.
 I brought 8 kits....patches, borders, backing, and binding all precut. Janice has a large area for us to set up 4 machines and plenty of room to arrange blocks on the floor and her design wall.


The finished quilts will be given to the Asheville Quilt Guild's Community Quilt project for disbursement.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

FLOWER GARDEN IN SHADOW

My fabric stash contains a lot of black and white fabrics...much of it contains busy prints which often don't play well with others.  So finding just the right ones to highlight white prints on black took time.  Ultimately the idea transformed into this unusual approach where black prints were also placed on white prints.

I prefer simple, uncomplicated designs where just a few motifs do the job of moving the eye around the piece.  Hopefully that was accomplished in this newest work.

I don't keep track of how much time is spent on each piece, I won't skimp on the design or process just to finish quickly.  However, overall since I am selling my work and want to keep the price reasonable, my pieces aren't large.  It's still an education process for buyers to understand what a positive impact fiber brings to a room, sound deadening qualities for one, not to mention the tactile and warm appearance of the fiber itself.

FLOWER GARDEN IN SHADOW    53" X 32"
Cotton fabrics, machine appliqu├ęd and quilted.

Check out:  Nina-Maries's Off The Wall Friday,  Sarah's Whoop whoop Friday

Monday, October 15, 2018

ZIG-ZAG STITCHING LIKE YOU'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE!!

We've had an abundance of spiders in and around our home this summer....big fat brown spiders were the most prevalent.....messy webs everywhere!  Okay, before you all comment on the positives....I get it....I just don't like the mess.

However, this one shown here is a first.   It's beautiful, huge, and a type I've never seen before. Research tells me it's a orb-weaver spider....notice how large the web is.  AND...it must be strong as it was in place for days with perfect placement of the web, despite our rain and wind post hurricane weather.


If you look closely above and below the spider you can see the weaving this creature made...looks just like zig-zag stitches!!

I will conclude my post today by saying with fingers double crossed.....GO PACK GO!!!  Sure hope tonight's game has more success than the previous outings of America's favorite team!

Friday, October 12, 2018

DESIGN WALL TIP

My design wall is one of the most important and useful items in my studio. I generally create one-of-a-kind wall art that is developed directly on the design wall by 'trial and error.'  There's lots of standing back and muttering involved....as well as test photos with the iPhone.  It's not uncommon for me to download various design approach photos to my computer to view them side by side.  It's such a good way to compare what is or is not working.

I came up with a nifty trick many years ago that I again used on a piece that's currently on my wall.  I blogged about it eons ago but thought perhaps sharing it again might be useful.


Sometimes fusible motifs require precise placement.  The process of pinning the shape without it attaching to the design wall, then transferring the background (if it's a large one) to a pressing surface can be troublesome as shifting so often occurs.  Instead, I dig out my Clover mini iron and spot fuse the pieces in place while they are on the wall before doing a final press at the ironing board.  It works great!

Check out what other artists have been working on this week:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday and Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

ROLE MODEL

What an example of humanity/good sportsmanship/friendship.  What a painful game for the Packers and all their fans....this photo says it all....no further comment on my part is necessary.  


Sunday, October 7, 2018

MY HOMAGE TO BANKSY

Perhaps you've already read about the self-destructing Banksy art sold at auction for over a million dollars??  If not.....click here to read the whole story.


I've admired his work for years....so much so that I chose Banksy as my inspiration for our 2011 PTA group challenge.  We were to create a 30" x 24" piece inspired by a living or deceased artist.

Below you'll see the signage that accompanied my piece "Wash Day" at the exhibit, along with a photo of the quilt which is now in a private collection.






Friday, October 5, 2018

FIBER JUNKIES - OCT. MEETING

Our Oct. meeting was held at Gen's house.....yes OCTOBER....we can hardly believe summer is gone already!
 Show and tell was rather sparse but Gen filled in the time with her wonderfully creative journal pages.
 This is a saran wrap method of allowing the paint to dry with balled up saran warp placed over the page to provide texture when it's removed.
 Can you imagine the hours it took with pen and ink to create these designs?  Gen has a real eye for composition and style!
 Today our goal was to play with disperse dyes, along with more immediate color transfers using fabric crayons and pens.  Denny, the master of layering showed us several examples of various designs she added to her cloth with numerous designs.
 Each has probably been processed 4-5 times.

A few months back we did string pulling to create designs.  Rather than using acrylic paints that most of us did....Denny used disperse dyes on paper, allowing them to dry and transferring those images later to fabric.  
 For the 2nd time in two months Denny organized our entire day......sharing her wisdom and more supplies than one can imagine.  Thank you DENNY!!

As a short overview:   Denny has placed a protective piece of muslin over the ironing surface...then her fabric.....these techniques work best with synthetic fabrics only.  Then she placed her mask (a body form cut from a magazine).  Notice, we have two irons....you want to use an old fashioned one....without holes.
She had previously painted her mixed her dye into a liquid form and onto a piece of computer paper and allowed it to dry.  Placing it face down.....she pressed on the wrong side which transferred the dye to the fabric beneath.
 Once the mask was removed.....her  image is apparent.
 She could have started with a lighter color first then added the mask and the red dye....but in this case she used another one of her painted papers and pressed over the entire fabric....adding a goldish color to the figure and more interest to the red.
 This is just a portion of the prepared mixed dyes, spoons, towels, extra fabrics, papers, irons, resits, masks......it must have taken her all day to organize this for us!
 I don't work with synthetics very much so I just puttered, not being in a big hurry to generate lots of that type of fabric.  But I got far more interested than I expected.  Here I used a nifty sink mat that Kate brought as a rubbing plate for fabric crayons.  The circular shape was created using fabric pens over one of Gen's commercial rubbing plates.
 The great thing about these two transfer methods is that they are very immediate, no drying involved and their colors are generally nice a bright.
 After copying mentor Denny......I did some layering of three different paper designs onto a sheer poly fabric (another gift from Denny!!)  Now this WAS FUN.
 Years ago Judy and I went to a fabric outlet that will forever more be called our 'dumpster diving' trip.  She brought some weird synthetic fabrics for us to try.  My paper fabric pen design (lower left) wasn't well thought out....I just wanted to see what would happen on that strange white with faggoted sections in it.  We were surprised it transferred 3 times before it petered out.  I went back several times and layered over the initial design with other papers.....but of course don't have a picture handy (sorry).  Denny is so right....if you don't like it the first time, layer, and layer and layer some more.  It really does get better.
 Here's Denny's masterpiece......I couldn't say how many layers she's done on this or how many masks......but it's soooo very Denny...we all loved it and her generous spirit.

Check out what other artists have done this week:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's, Whoop, Whoop Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts.