Monthly Archives: August 2019

Here Comes The Sun

I found summer was slipping by all too quickly without my promised fabric design activities, so I used a lovely day for sun fabric printing with stencils and PVC tubes. The latter I used for arashi shibori, though with paint, not dye.

Frankly, I find it easier to color fabric with paint than with dye. No soda ash baths, no endless rinsing. Of course the resulting colors aren’t as intense, and the color sits on top of the fabric rather than permeating it. I think your chosen method depends on how you hope to use the fabric.

My equipment was basic – Setacolor transparent paints, foam brushes, three or four stencils, a sprayer, paint containers, cotton fabric, foam core boards, 24 inch long PVC pipes, rubber bands, and painters tape. I mixed three colors of paint – a yellow/orange, a red/orange, and a blue/green.

I did the shibori by wrapping folded fabric around the pipe and securing it with rubber bands. Next I pushed the fabric together to form folds and slopped paint on it. Then I sprayed each wrapped pipe with water to encourage the paint to migrate to inner fabric layers.

You can see the outside fabric is darker and the fabric folds are conduits for paint.

The inner parts have some interesting veining.

My stencils were a mix of bought and created designs. The most successful stencil was a plastic place mat I cut the edges from. Both the leaf and numbers prints were done on patterned fabric.

I finished my day with a second printing on my less successful efforts and produced the following:

I mixed my blue/green and red/orange paints to create purple, which I painted over the fabric on the left. For the fabric on the right I mixed yellow/orange and red/orange paints for an orange/red, which created a more subtle effect.

Update: In response to commenters’ questions, here’s a photo of the place mat I used. The edges were cut off. I think I bought it at Target.


Filed under Fabric Printing, Techniques

No Sew Quilts

After I was shown a segment of The Quilt Show where Lisa Walton demoed fusible quilt blocks made from scraps, I revisited my bags of fused leftover scraps and went to work.

Luckily, I have several teflon sheets so I could give my iron a fighting chance to stay glue free as I chopped and layered my scraps. The foundation to Lisa’s method is to overlap your base layers by 1/4 inch and fuse them. Then, you fuse strips of fabric on another fabric and cross cut them into colorful strips which you add to the base layers. Finally, you fuse your assembly onto a batting, flannel in my case. The sewing doesn’t start until the quilting does.

I produced two small quilts, which I enlarged by mounting them on quilted bases a la Jean Wells.

Fault Lines 10.5 ” x 21″

The curves I used came from the shapes of my scraps, and the thin long strip on the right was cut off of the main piece as part of straightening the edges. I zigzagged cording around the quilt edges and used an envelope finish on the base, which is Grunge fabric.

Plane Geometry 16″ x 12″

I used similar techniques in “Plane Geometry” including use of scraps as they were. The background fabric here is by Marcia Derse.

These were pleasurable palette refreshers that came together quickly and gave me a chance to use free motion quilting, which I haven’t been doing lately.

I’ve linked to Off The Wall Fridays.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, Techniques

Swimming Pool Art

How could I not like a swimming pool that was also a work of art, AND looked like an art quilt?

Bizarrely, this pool is outside Edinburgh, Scotland; not in Spain, Portugal or southern France. It’s at an outdoor sculpture garden called Jupiter Artland, and is called “Gateway.” I don’t know how much use it will get in that climate, but you can book a slot for swimming until August 22.

The tile grout lines look like nothing so much as grid quilting to me.


Filed under Inspiration


I never thought I’d type that title, but it fits my latest finish. As I mentioned a while back, this summer I took Elizabeth Barton’s online course “Mod Meets Improv.” My final piece for that class was a modern inflected improv-ish work that featured red Xes on white fabric.

I began with drawings of variously sized Xes that I taped in a somewhat random arrangement. No high tech design work for me.

I then made several X blocks in different orange and red shades, refined my block placement, and filled in the space left with Kona white cotton fabric. Parts of that were a bit tricky to seam, so I ended up doing a bit of hand applique in blocks that contained large and small Xes.

I kept the quilting simple, following the lines of the largest X. I emphasized that X with red machine stitched 12 weight thread and a single line of perle cotton handstitched in each direction.

Astute readers may discern the edges are unfinished. The facings are cut, but not yet sewn on. I gave myself a pass so I could share this (mostly) finished piece.

It’s been a while since I worked with white fabric sewn to itself, so I had forgotten how the seams show up, even with a white batting. I could have lined each piece, but that wasn’t going to happen. In the right light at the right angle you don’t see the seams.

I settled on “Xed Out” for the title.


Filed under Completed Projects, Modern Quilting

I Can’t Resist A Sale

When I saw Spoonflower had their new signature petal fabric yardage on sale I knew it was time to print some of my photo-shopped inspiration pix. After some time trying various layouts available, I settled on the following:

Before, a footbridge over the Cuyahoga River:


Before, a shattered mirror backstage:


Before, a garden shed made of recycled soda bottles:


Before, construction materials:


How is the new fabric? It’s better than Spoonflower’s basic cotton and certainly equal to their Kona cotton option. As always, printing leaves the fabric stiff even after washing. If that bothers you, then this process isn’t for you.

No, I have no idea how I’ll use my new fabric, but it’s fun to consider the possibilities.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays, a bit late.


Filed under Fabric Printing

Aunt Harriet Casts Some Shade

Like many women of my generation, I have inherited handiwork made by women in the previous generation. Some artists like Amy Meissner have created art with such bits. While I’ve repurposed inherited table linens by dyeing, printing, etc., I’ve been more hesitant to cut up crocheted pieces made by my father’s Aunt Harriet.

Great Aunt Harriet must have covered all her relatives’ tables with doilies and the backs and arms of their upholstered furniture with antimacassars. She also crocheted afghans with wool yarn from a local carpet factory. Those afghans have held up for at least 80 years, though they are a bit scratchy.

An improv afghan?

I decided to use the doilies to print designs on cyanotype fabrics I bought on a whim. If you’ve ever done sun printing on fabric, you know the process. The fabric is treated with potassium ferricyanide and a ferric salt solution, and turns a bright color (usually blue) everywhere except where you’ve placed an object that blocks the light.

My cyanotypes in process.

After I used up the whole pack of fabric I realized that I had no plan for how to use my prints. Now I wish I had been more methodical, but oh well.

The cyanotype squares sat in my unique-fabrics-that-I-have-no-idea-what-to-do with pile until last week when I wanted to use ombre fabric I had already cut for a top that I decided not to make up. The colors of the scrappy blocks I created just were too delicate for that green. No one would call my cyanotype colors delicate.

Of course, I still have nine other cyanotype blocks to find a use for.


Filed under Fabric Printing, In Process