Wednesday, July 17, 2019

SUMMER IN WISCONSIN

My airline travel luck is pretty bad....and of course this trip had its flaws too, but nothing that really impacted the enjoyment of getting back to Wisconsin for a family wedding.  Everyone was sending good vibes and the heavens seemed to as well.....beautiful rainbow  taken from the plane's window in Milwaukee.


Of course I have tons of photos but since this is primarily a fiber blog I'll keep my posting down to these two.  The only thing missing in this picture is a bottle/can of beer.  A fishing boat had just come in as we strolled the River Walk, so we stopped and watched them hang their fish....great photo opportunity for the fishermen and spectators alike.  This area is where the Sheboygan river flows into Lake Michigan, making it a great entryway for fishing and pleasure boats alike.

I'll be back in my studio as soon as I can recover from the constant activity we enjoyed!!

Friday, July 12, 2019

APPALACHIAN PCA CLUB OUTING

We are members of a very active car club that sponsors scenic drives along the many, many fun to navigate mountain roads.  21 vehicles made this trip through the Nantahala Gorge, stopping at the Outdoor Center before heading along Wayah Road, one of the prettiest roadways in our area (with tons of curves and  switchbacks to challenge all those sports cars). 

A must (unless you are in a sports car) is a visit to Wayah Bald Tower in the Nahtahala National Forest.  Obviously we bypassed this historic site and headed for a stop in Franklin, NC for lunch.  Finding a restaurant that can accommodate 33 people AND has adequate paved parking away from other cars is often time consuming for the scouts who plan these trips.  We are always grateful to the organizers of these adventures.  "The husband" was the lead car for group #1...with radio in hand to communicate with our 'sweeper' car......all 10 cars in our group kept the pace with no missed turns!     

So....'the husband' had his 'seat time' with this drive and I'll have mine as I wing my way to Wisconsin for a family wedding.  Upon returning.....I'll be holed up in the studio!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

FAMILY TIME

An all too short visit with our son/wife/ & 2 kiddos was unexpectedly extended by a whole day due to the continuing cancellation issues American Airlines is experiencing because of union problems. Though disruptive for all involved, the extra time with the 'kids' was such a treat.
Here's an appropriate present from my 7 year old grandson that he made at school....painted and woven strips of paper....ala patchwork quilt art!

 The visit was jam packed with non-stop activities.  Here's an example of two unique ones.  I haven't been to a movie theater (honestly!!) in over 10 years and before that visit it was at least 10 years prior.  BUT....I could get used to this type of movie going....comfy seats with mini tables, and a waiter who took our lunch order & quickly delivered it.  We gobbled up everything while watching the movie.  I enjoyed THE best movie popcorn I've ever had, served in a huge stainless steel bowl and a yummy mocha coffee milkshake.  Now this is living!
 The kids both got haircuts....what a unique way to get children to sit still during the process.  Clever styling chairs....all with their own personal iPad type monitor to keep them still.

Another family event is right around the corner so I'll barely have time to unpack and repack before making more memories.  My latest art quilt will be on hold till I return.  Hope you are all enjoying your summer.



Saturday, July 6, 2019

LANDSCAPE WALL ART PROGRESS

Overall stitching is now complete......next step is to refine and blend colors more effectively.  It's still somewhat distorted, but better than I expected.....once all the stitching details are completed, I'll block it and see if there is hope
to achieve a finished piece of wall art......

I remind myself to be patient!!


Thursday, July 4, 2019

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY

CELEBRATING OUR COUNTRY!!!
"UNITED WE STAND" 44" x 28" - available for purchase with certified appraisal
 - contact me


Detail - intricate beaded edging treatment

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

LANDSCAPE QUILT PROGRESSING

It may be wishful thinking but the annoying distortion issues I've had with this Liberty of London "Lawn" fabric are slowly being tamed as stitching continues.  It's not gone, but it is better.  So, I'll proceed....
 Some of the dye painting in the lower level didn't totally cover the pale blue fabric that I started with....spots of the light color were apparent after sewing with a solid green rayon thread.  So I went back and did more spot sewing over some of those areas with a lighter green which turned out too light on the piece....big sigh...
 Never fear, pastel oil sticks are becoming my new best friend.....and while I was altering the lighter green stitching, I smeared some lines here and there to provide more interest and depth to this section.
This photo is a bit shadowy but you'll get the idea.....the stitching has now moved up the quilt introducing some blue/yellow/orange to the sky as it works its way up into the more solid blue section.

Various obligations will probably keep me from adding too much for the next two weeks.....but I'll post results as they happen.  Thanks for hanging out with me.

Monday, July 1, 2019

STITCHING WHEN I CAN

Despite being super busy with our ongoing on again, off again plans to move or refresh our home....

Stitching continues on my landscape scene. Distortion also continues, even after all the stabilizing tricks I've employed. Interestingly, once the center was sewn I was able to move to the lower green section with the programed stitch which for some strange reason is no longer tunneling?!? I'm doing my best to keep it as flat as possible in the hopes that once completed I'd be able to block it to lay square and flat. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

A GIFT OF LAKE SUPERIOR STONES

You know you have a good and thoughtful friend when she spends time on her vacation collecting smooth, interesting beach stones for me!  

 This lovely pile came all the way from the shores of Lake Superior....thank you Janet...I'm thrilled.
 For some they might only be rocks.....to me they are a blank canvas, waiting to be embellished and displayed as I've done here on my dining room farm table.
Close-up view....my fingers are itching to dig into my vast collection of beads & grab some of my hand dyed cordings. Often it's the simple things that can give so much pleasure!

Friday, June 28, 2019

SLOW GOING

Nearly a week has gone by and I don't have much to show for it except piles of rejected paint samples...do you know how many off white tints/shades there are?  Impossible to choose.

And then there's the carpet samples.....so many factors to weigh - color/weight/loft/no loft/durability/adaptable to stairs and concrete base....geesh!

Next comes the really overwhelming brain teaser.....replace or repair poorly constructed (14 year old deck that was well maintained).  We have 3 large decks that are unsightly and unsafe. Wish we could eliminate the largest open one but given the terrain it has to stay. One estimate for a direction that makes sense for us aging folks would be the less maintenance Trex brand.  Good grief......it's more than the cost of our first house back in 1970!!!

The positive/negative chart we have going to supposedly take the emotion out of the decision to move OR stay and freshen up this house, now leans in one direction.......still leaving the biggest issue of finding a suitable home.  Here in the mountains.....it seems the majority of homes are not one level living....rather 2 and so often 3 are the norm.  That's what we are trying to get away from.  So....enough of this....I'm sharing simply to let you know I'm still here, still creating, but a bit more slowly during this shift in our otherwise fairly predictable lives.

 My last post showed a dye painted - sort of landscape piece.  It was done on Liberty of London's Lawn cotton fabric.  LOVE the feel, but it's so thin and unstable that immediately I realize I'd have problems pursuing the design idea I had.  First things first.....wishing to use a programed stitch on my machine to add texture and lay down lots of thread quickly.....thankfully I tested it first.  The 'Lawn' fabric was spray starched to give it more body and further stabilized with a Pellon non-fusible lightweight interfacing on the back.  I tried every trick I know with machine settings and nothing prevented the tunneling of the fabric....even when I added a layer of batting beneath the Pellon.
Here I stabilized a piece of the fabric with Terial Magic.....a liquid fabric stabilizer that supposed to turn fabric into an almost paper like quality.  I know there are many who rave about this product, but yet again I'm a thumbs down.  It makes a MESS of the iron and one really needs a place to hang the sodden fabric to damp dry without dripping all over.  They say it doesn't mess the iron....oh please.....each time I've used it....my iron requires massive cleaning and this junk tends to get on the piece you are trying to press......even with the use of a  press cloth it's troublesome to use.  

In the end, I gave up my quest to use the programed stitched and went with a straight stitch using variegated thread which seemed to behave better.  Come back and see how this once flat piece is now looking....


Friday, June 21, 2019

NEW BEGINNING

We are again attending to home projects.....still deliberating whether to stay in this house or sell.  Back and forth thoughts how to ready this house to sell or  move forward with longer term needs to last another 10 years.  So much has depended upon finding a suitable house to purchase and so far there's not a single one that checks all or most of our boxes.

What's a girl to do?  Start another project of course and then grab bits of studio time here and there to keep my creative self sane.

I dye-painted this 'sort of' landscape piece during one of our Fiber Junkies dye days.  We used thickened dyes as well as thinned one which were used to over-spray the backgrounds.

An inkling of an idea has developed about how to use this piece.....I'll be reporting back as it develops. 

Be sure to visit these fine blogs to see what others have been up to this week: Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday & Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

4 GREEN TREES - AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE

After 10 days - averaging 6 hours each = 60 hours NOT including the hours spent printing the fabric nor the cost of materials.....the hourly rate I've earned is about $3.00, pretty pathetic!  However, the creative pleasure gained can't be measured.  Perhaps you'd like to give this piece a home?

4 GREEN TREES- 19" x 32.5"
$225
Artist deconstructed screen printed cottons, machine applique & quilted.
Prepared for hanging. Shipping included on this piece.

Monday, June 17, 2019

CONTINUING - DESIGN PROCESS - hanging sleeve

Part 7 -  Creating a wall art quilt - from start to finish.....
The hanging sleeve is the final step in the making of this quilt. To accommodate the bulk of the dowel I prefer to add some 'give' to the width of the sleeve.  This allows room on the back of the quilt for the rod, preventing its bulk from being seen from the front as a visible bump when the quilt is hung. Here's how I do that.
*Note - if you've missed the other posts, scroll back to see the entire process.
 Cut a 6" wide strip of fabric, measuring the width of the finished wall quilt - minus 2".  Fold each short end 1/4" to wrong side, press and repeat. Machine stitch the hem to secure the neatly finished edges.
 Fold the strip in half the length of the fabric and press.
 Bring each lengthwise raw edge to meet at the center fold, wrong sides together.
 Press to hold shape.
 Reposition fabric with raw edges meeting and stitch a 1/4" seam. from end to end.  
 Press seam open.
 Using the pressed folded lines as a guide, center & pin sleeve to wrong side of quilt, 1/4" from top edge of the quilt. This step provides the 'give' in the sleeve for the hanging rod.
Hand stitch in position. Note how the built in fabric margin helps to accommodate the hanging rod.  

I hope you've enjoyed this step-by-step photo journey of the making of 
4 GREEN TREES.  As I said when it started about 10 days ago, anyone who has ever made a quilt already knows how time consuming, yet rewarding the task is.  Hopefully this has educated and inspired non-quilters to appreciate and perhaps own my work.....  The completed piece will be posted tomorrow.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

CONTINUING - DESIGN PROCESS - Facing & label

Part 6 -  Creating a wall art quilt - from start to finish.....
I'm now in the finishing phase so today we will look at how I finished the edge and created the label for this piece.
*Note - if you've missed the other posts, scroll back to see the entire process.
Some quilts benefit from a clean finish edge, rather than the addition of a binding.  4 - 2" wide strips are needed.  2 strips are cut 2" shorter in length than the vertical measurement & 2 are cut 2" longer than the width of the piece.  I've pressed a 1/4" hem on each.  Starting with the sides: match raw edges, right sides together & sew with a 1/4" seam.  
Before attaching the horizontal strips, press each side strip to the outside and stay stitch 1/8" from the seam line as shown.  This will make it easier and tidier to turn the facing to the wrong side.
 Stay stitching is completed and it's ready to turn to the back side of the quilt.
(Viewed from wrong side)....only the thinnest amount of the quilt top will be visible after turning and pressing the facing to the back. 

 I find it easier to get sharp corners if I take the time to turn, press, and hand sew the side facings before the last two facing strips are sewn.  Once that's complete, repeat with the remaining strips.  When hand sewing these last two strips, turn in the excess fabric at the corners.

NOW....let's look at how I create my LABELS.
 My labels are printed onto fabric using an Espon printer fitted with Durabright ink.  I've created a master form in my word processing file which can be changed with each new quilt.  Though I'm not a big fan of spray adhesive, I find it a good tool for this task.  A rough cut piece of fabric is sprayed lightly on the wrong side and adhered to a piece of card stock.  In this case I used a piece shorter than the length of the paper, the edges have been trimmed to size. Painters tape is secured to the top edge to keep the fabric in place as it's grabbed by the printer's rollers. 
 I sign it before removing from the card stock.
 Next it's peeled away from the card stock, heat set, fused with a paper-back fusible to the wrong side, and rotary cut using a wavy edge blade.

Finally the paper backing is removed and the label is fused to the back of the quilt.

One last step is necessary before calling this piece complete.  Come back and check out my method of creating a fabric hanging sleeve.

Friday, June 14, 2019

CONTINUING - DESIGN PROCESS

Part 5 -  Creating a wall art quilt - from start to finish.....
*Note - if you've missed the other posts, scroll back to see the entire process.


As you can perhaps surmise, the applique has been completed and 3 other more subtle details have been added.  I purposely stayed away from a bright color for the birds, choosing instead a more blendable color to allow the viewer to 'discover' them upon closer inspection of the piece.

A backing has been added and the tree motifs have been outline quilted to better hold the layers together.  The final step will be to finish the edges with a facing and I'll show you the method I use in the next post.

Linking to:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday & Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

CONTINUING - DESIGN PROCESS

Part 4 -  Creating a wall art quilt - from start to finish.....

At last....I'm satisfied with the tree motifs which are pinned in position to the quilt top on my design wall.

I came up with a clever trick numerous years ago when working on a piece that required precision placement of its many small design elements.  Rather than trying to move work this size to a pressing surface and hoping nothing shifts (of course it will), I use a Clover mini-iron to tack each piece in place. Once the elements are temporarily secured, the entire piece is transferred to a large pressing surface and permanently fused together. 
Here's another trick to use when machine appliqueing to avoid those pesky frayed threads along the edge of a fused motif.  Before machine stitching, use a tiny paint brush to coat the edge of the applique with Fray Block - a June Tailor product. Batiks don't fray as easily, but being hyper fussy about high quality workmanship, it's my standard procedure no matter what fabric I'm working with. I learned about this product from my pal Linda Cantrell....well known for her detailed humorous 
appliqué quilts.  
With matching thread, I've machine appliqued each section.  The machine is equipped with an open toe embroidery foot and programed with  a narrow blanket stitch.
Again, being the control freak I am about tidy workmanship, I pull the beginning and ending thread ends on each and every section to the wrong side and tie off. Yes, it's very time consuming....and it's just another example of why it can take me so much time to create a quality wall art quilt.

It's almost finished.....stay tuned for the rest....

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

CONTINUING....DESIGN PROCESS

Part 3 - Creating a wall art quilt - from start to finish.....
 If you guessed this fabric, we agreed.....however, even after my 25+ years of quilting experience, teaching/speaking on the national quilt circuit.....I can still get it wrong! Most of my work now features simple motifs/uncluttered designs which is why I chose only 4 large tree motifs as the design elements for this busy background.
 However, since 4 tree blobs felt heavy and uninspiring, fracturing them seemed to fit the background style better.  Which is where I ran into problems....though this green batik fabric appears to stand out quite well in this close up....in person the pieces didn't have enough contrast.  I spent way too much time trying to make it work; outlining the edges with a brighter green, free motion stitching within the section, and even considering hand embroidering a blanket stitch around each one.  If I wanted to fracture the trees, I'd need to switch fabric.
So, I gave up and moved onto a darker batik fabric.  I'm days into this project already and this is what I have to show for all that time....a background, 1 tree blob, 1 dark fractured tree, and 1 lighter fractured tree failure.
 Okay.....moving on....I'm going with the darker fractured tree but another problem cropped up. Notice how the split between the top left two pieces nearly disappears?  The background in that section was too dark.....
 I tried moving the position of this tree but it needed to be where it was.....so I used an oil pastel to lighten the background of that area.
Here's the result....you'd never know the background fabric has been altered.  Next step......fusing and then appliqueing the trees in place.  Watch for part 4 soon.