Category Archives: In Process

Running Out Of Strips

I’m winding down my work on all the strip improv pieces I’ve shown you before. Most are in a drawer awaiting future inspiration. One is kind of done, though it needs more…something.

Only one has made it to the finish line. I call it Stripe 3. I’m still fiddling with the width of the vertical outer yellow stripes. The crookedness on the left side is caused by the felt strips I use to try out different widths.

It was inspired by this $5000 dress advertised in a glossy magazine. How can anyone look so bored while wearing such a pricey outfit?

I tried some variations, such as four circles, but decided that overwhelmed the rest.

The circles are left over from a failed drunkards path quilt from about four years ago. Since I refuse to throw out bits I’ve spent some time making, they were waiting for me in my parts department.

As you can see, I got tired of all solids and added prints to the mix, partly because I had run out of solids that played well with the colors I had already used. As I look at it now, I wonder if I should either make this even larger, or reduce the size by eliminating all of part the top and bottom print strips. Your thoughts?

 

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Filed under Completed Projects, In Process, Modern Quilting

Playing With Solids

The double whammy of the recent Circular Abstractions bulls eye quilt exhibit and a quilt group program on Nancy Crow’s design methods led me to pull out all my saved solid fabric strips and sew them together. I hope this link to Pinterest gives you an idea of the exercises students do in Nancy’s workshops. She offers several multi-day classes that range from beginner to expert.

My design wall became colonized by stripey units in various stages – just stripes, units cut from stripes, units with added cross stripes… As always, it’s fascinating to see which colors enhance each other and which just stick out their tongues at each other. So far I’ve worked only from scraps, though some of the scraps are about fat quarter size. If I want to make larger units I may have to break into stash.

For now I’ll set these assemblages aside to mellow a bit and wait for further inspiration. My fellow group members had fun playing with strips. Here are some of their efforts.

You begin Nancy’s workshop with lots of strip piecing, which you then build into units, and finally you do an overall composition. Since I made my units above before our group program I didn’t exactly follow Nancy’s dictates.

I learned that Nancy takes away everyone’s ruler after a few days; that she wants you to cut towards, rather than away, from you (I find that scary); and that she wants you to backstitch at the start and finish of seams.The ruler thing is amusing as Nancy once lent her name to an acrylic ruler.

I also learned she uses the same rotary cutter blade for a long time, even up to a year. Apparently she doesn’t sharpen it. We all wondered how that was possible, given the amount of cutting involved with her method.

All that cutting is the reason I won’t be adopting Nancy’s methods in a big way. Pressing down to get through multiple fabric layers and seams doesn’t do my shoulder any good. I plan to develop some of my starts further, but after that, who knows.

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Filed under In Process, Modern Quilting, Project Ideas, Techniques

Play With Surface Design

Well, it was actually play with paint, but surface design sounds fancier. One of my goals for 2017 was to build on fabric I had printed with thickened dyes at a workshop last fall. For no reason I can explain, the dyes faded a lot on some of my fabric when I washed it, especially ones made with a soy wax resist.

soy-wax-1I had three that looked a lot like this; the vibrant greens had mostly washed out.

A recent paint play date gave me a chance to improve them. Participants brought a wild assortment of objects to print with. Some were ad hoc such as springs, cat toys, chop sticks, bubble wrap, and rubber door stoppers; while others were purpose made, such as stencils and fancy foam brushes. I availed myself of many of these tools, plus empty toilet paper tubes, truly the Swiss army knife of printing.

silk-screen-with-paintThe results are definitely more colorful than what I started with. I may add more to them at the next painting session.

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Filed under Fabric Printing, In Process, Techniques

Fabric Paper or Reverse Engineering

Traditionally, fine paper was made from cotton rags, hence rag paper. It’s more durable and far less acidic than paper made from wood pulp. So you could say that fabric and paper have a long history together. However, my conversion of fabric to paper began quite recently.

I was intrigued by Eileen Searcy’s article in the February/March 2017 issue of Quilting Arts magazine  about making a “faux torn paper” quilt. It was different, didn’t require quilting and, except for the dimensional paint, I already had the supplies. A grub through my interfacing drawer turned up some very lightweight non-fusible interfacing and I had a bolt of Wonder Under. Once I dashed into WalMart for the paint I was good to go.

To create the 2 by 22 inch fabric strips the directions called for I pulled out solid or mottled fabrics in a gray to green to blue range, with a few light beige neutrals thrown in. To speed up the strip process I cut my fabrics into 4 inch wide pieces and fused as many of them as I could fit onto my interfacing pieces. Then I cut them into 2 inch wide strips. If I had been thinking I would have cut them into 4 inch wide strips and separated them with the jagged edge cutting that simulates torn paper. Oh well.

Next, I dabbed the ragged cut edges with the dimensional paint. The idea is the white paint will give the effect of torn colored paper, which has a white core. This piece of real torn paper gives an idea of the look I was going for.

element_tornpaperI could have painted my strips faster, but I wanted to try different ways of applying the paint and different thicknesses of the paint. The magazine instructions turned out to be on the money – paint from the front to back of the fabric and hold the brush perpendicular to the fabric, though I decided to apply a lighter coat of paint. I can always go back and add more.

Rather than use batting I decided to fuse my foundation fabric to Decor Bond for extra stability. I’ll be sewing the fabric paper strips to this and the backing fabric at the same time. My “sandwich” will be my strips, the foundation fabric, Decor Bond, and backing fabric.

After the prep work I got to my design wall and began to play. I ended up with a design that reminds me of the Great Smoky Mountains, so I emphasized earth and sky components. Of course I took some artistic license.

great-smoky-mountains-national-park-lead

Here’s my version so far in black and white. I was checking my values range.

smokies-bw

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Filed under In Process, Project Ideas, Techniques

Mini Designs

By mini, I mean about four inches square, practically drink coaster size. I made seven tiny designs with a small group that is now exploring Deborah Boschert’s “Art Quilt Collage.” The author suggests quick fabric sketches to get familiar with her eight design guides.

Armed with craft felt squares and lots of already fused fabric scraps we arranged our bits and spent some time squinting at the effects. Once we were satisfied we pressed them down. The author says this should be done fairly quickly and spontaneously, but it took us the better part of two hours.

My gallery reflects my love of bright colors and diagonal lines.

mini-designsMaybe I’ll quilt them, zigzag around the edges and use them for drink coasters. I suspect they’d stimulate some conversation about the state of the hostess’ mind.

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Filed under Art quilts, Books, In Process

I’ve Created A Monster

You may remember I planned to do scrappy piecing this year. My thought was a little bit each week, kind of an ongoing project. Well…

I now have one piece finished, one ready for quilting, and one almost done. They have been my passion for the past two weeks. Oh, I did some quilting on the birdies and the girls’ seascape, but I kept getting up from my sewing machine to tweak my designs a little bit more. This was so not my plan.

I’m puzzled how I created such different designs from my black/gray and yellow scrap bins. Two are rectangular while one has diagonals. I adopted an arbitrary rule that I had to go with the basic shape of the scrap, though I could trim it.

mostly-black-and-blue“Mostly Black and Blue” is Mondrian-ish with the pops of red and yellow. The mottled gray fabric is from my “Moonrise” quilt. I’ve enjoyed revisiting the leftovers from earlier projects.

getting-brighter-2

“Getting Brighter” is still in progress as I keep adding little squares like stepping stones across the surface. I cheated and used yardage for the black speckled linen and gray and cream print areas. The photo’s angle is off as the piece is high up on my design wall.

pointing-to-lavender

“Pointing Toward Lavender” has the very last of some treasured McKenna Ryan and Lonni Rossi fabrics, plus hand dyed damask. I had issues with the damask stretching during quilting so I ended up starching that fabric heavily, which I should have done in the first place. Restitching the quilting after starching solved the problem, though I abandoned my idea to change line direction a lot.

Since this isn’t a piece I’ll be entering in shows I decided to try another facing method. I found that mitered facing corners aren’t the best method for me.  Better to learn that now.

I think I may make my scrap sewing a monthly, rather than a weekly, project. My trips to the fabric candy store obviously need to be rationed.

 

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Filed under Art quilts, In Process

The Girls Hit The Road

While I was creating their seaside environment the girls got bored and went on a road trip. They were shopping for a forever home and wanted to see what was on offer on my walls.

Since they were in the neighborhood, their first stop was a piece in progress on my second design wall. At first they thought they had stumbled into MOMA and wondered how that happened. When no one made them buy an expensive ticket they realized that they weren’t at MOMA but inside a creation from my scrap bins.

girls-go-cubist

After getting lost in black and yellow corridors that led nowhere the girls escaped and decided to try another floor. When they saw fish they thought maybe their seaside dream had become real, but swimming with the fishes wasn’t what they had in mind, so they surfaced and headed back upstairs.

girls-take-a-dive

Some time had passed since they last saw their design wall. The girls were thrilled to notice a new landscape with sky, a beach, and an ocean. There were even fluffy clouds in the sky. Since their feet were hot and tired from all those steps they waded into the water and wiggled their toes in the sand.

girls-at-seaI thought the girls were finally happy, but now they keep asking me what they’re supposed to be looking at. And could there be more waves. Sigh.

 

 

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Filed under Art quilts, Commentary, In Process