Sunday, June 25, 2017

A small piece finished.

I finally finished the small 12 by 12, that was started in a workshop with Bethany Garner.  I posted about the workshop awhile ago, but had never been able to devote a day to finishing the piece.  Not spectacular, but a simple little collage.

Here is a full view and a close-up.



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Juncos

Having received the thread I needed for thread painting, I got to work on my latest piece, and have finally got it finished and hung in my studio.  I've been wanting to replace a framed embroidery, there, that I did in 1992, but have had problems with size as the area is over my ironing board, and the space is limited.

A few months ago, I blogged about doing a series of mono-prints on cotton to use as backgrounds for a series of hangings.  This is the first piece in that group.  I use the word group, as I'm not yet sure that there will be a series.  The mono-prints I chose for this piece were black and ultramarine blue, and there were three of them.  I first made a rough draft of my plan to determine the size of my thread painted focal point.  Then I did the thread painting.  I chose Juncos as the subject, as I very much look forward to the three weeks they visit my feeder, both spring and fall.



Next the surrounding pieces were cut and assembled, and the entire thing machine quilted, some of which was free motion. There was enough of the mono-prints left over to be able to piece the backing.  I usually add a false back to my pieces, but am toying with the idea of maybe entering this in a judges exhibition, so have allowed the quilting to show.   That is very scary for me! Here is the full view.



  And the reverse.  Because of the possibility of showing it, I've used an exhibition-size sleeve.





 And here it is on my wall, over the ironing board.  I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread Network, and maybe Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Fridays.








Sunday, June 11, 2017

Practising

The thread I need for a special project has finally arrived.  But, it's been along time since I did any FMQ'g, and since the project involves both FMQ'g and thread painting, I figured I better get some practice in, before starting work on the project. I took one of the pieces I painted last week, and decided to cover it with matchstick quilting, done with free motion.

I've been doing matchstick quilting for a few years, but I was recently told that the lines should be no more that the length of one machine stitch apart, and mine are more like 2-3 stitch lengths apart. So my second goal was to work on making them closer together.

The background is a cotton Damask table napkin, about 20 inches square, that had been LWI dyed.  I then put some  dark lines on it with fabric paint.

I found that it is much more difficult to make the lines exactly parallel when they are longer, and that I was smart to do a practice piece before starting on the main piece. Here is the result. 

First the front view.  As you can see, I tried to alter the direction of the stitching within every defined space.

The effect might be more easily seen on the reverse


Having put this much work into it, I'm hoping it can find some sort of use, perhaps a tote bag.

I plan to link this with Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Friday, and The Needle and Thread Network.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Searching

I engage fairly often in a bit of "navel gazing".  We're told that we are each our own worst critic, and I think this is true.  Over the past few weeks, I've been searching for inspiration.  I've cruised the internet, and spent a fair bit of time in my personal library, trying to find a sense of direction with my art.  While thinking about this,  my need to stitch has lead to five charity quilts, of which three are now finished and ready to go.  The other two just need some simple machine quilting, and binding.  But the time has come for action.  

The weather prediction was for a hot sunny day, so I was up early this morning and prepared to go to my garden and paint fabric.  I planned to use fabric paint, acrylic paint, and was ready to "just do it!" My mantra for this year.

It's been a couple of years, so I started out with an old familiar task-sun printing.  But then creativity took over.  I got out some hand-dyed fabric that hadn't quite made the grade.  ( Nothing has "made the grade" lately, but that's another story.)  

Just as I had started, having brought half my studio outside, the wind came up and dark, threatening clouds rolled in.  So much for weather predictions!  However, despite the wind, and loss of the sun, I carried on.  By the time I finished with fabric paint, more than 3 hours later, I had 10 pieces laid out on the grass to dry, although only 6 are shown in the picture.


This is a previously dyed piece, that I over-painted with the green, and then put the 5 lids on to sun print.  The rocks are to hold everything down in the wind.  After it was dry, the resulting circles were void of green, but there is still not enough value contrast to make them stand out as much as I had hoped.  I 'm thinking of some hand stitching around the edges of the circles.  This can best be described as cheating at  clamped Shibori, but since the original dyeing was Shibori based, I feel no guilt.



The next picture shows painting over a bas-relief sculpture.  This is something I've tried in the past, but with mixed results.  The key appears to be the depth of the bas-relief, and this plaster ceiling medallion appears to be just about perfect.  I found it at a yard sale yesterday for a dollar, and certainly plan to use it again.  I have a glimmering of an idea about doing some circular mandala pieces, and this might show up in one.


If you look in the upper left corner of the first photo, you can see a plain purple ( trust me, it's purple- not blue )piece with three white ceramic tiles on it for sun printing.  I had written it off as a total failure, until I removed the tiles and found this.  I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but it's a "keeper".


The other pieces are still working their way through my brain, and I have a couple of ideas, but nothing firmed up yet.  But after almost three years of artistic block, I feel wonderful at finally having "something", and I can't wait to get down to it.  Those other two charity quilts may just have to wait.

I plan to link this with Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, and The Needle and Thread Network.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sewing again

My machine has finally come home.  It went into the shop when I ran into trouble with a charity quilt that experienced every disaster possible. The whole project was an exercise in frustration, and I was probably glad to have the break, but then became frustrated with not being able to work.

So, yesterday, as soon as the machine got home, I got down to work, and I finished the sucker.  "Tis done!  


It's about 40" square, and my husband thinks it's pretty, but it's not something I would wrap a baby in.  With the tension problems, and all the satin stitch on the back it's just not "cuddly".  But it might make a good "floor" quilt for a baby that's just starting to explore, so I think I'll donate it anyway.  I don't know what I would do with it otherwise, and I just want it gone!

I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread Network.

Friday, May 19, 2017

More frustration

It's now two weeks since my sewing machine went into the shop.  While I was told it would be ready by a week ago last Wednesday, I've heard nothing, and when I called was firmly told that they would let me know when it was ready, and there was no need to call again.  Add to this the fact that my computer crashed at the beginning of the month, and the old one I fired up, died completely about a week ago.  No "diversion therapy" there. But I got my good computer back quite late on Wednesday.  It was sent in under warrantee, because the latch that holds the battery in place had broken. So they replaced the hard drive.  Go figure!

This leaves me with the option of  doing hand work, which is painful, but still satisfies my soul--to a certain extent.  So when my copy of the latest Quilting Arts Magazine arrived this week, and I spotted an article on mini-prayer flags, I gave it a try.  For sure I had enough scrap fabric and embellishments to use! LOL

I ended up making  10 of them, and plan to give them to family, and share with my fibre art support group. I started with scraps of Duippionni (sp) silk, and re-cycled kimono silk.  The plain bits I stamped with fake writing and mandala-like symbols, before stitching.

 It proved to be an interesting experiment with mindful stitching, as it gave me a chance to consider the symbolism of various colours and embellishments, certainly the symbolism to my way of thinking.  I'm quite happy with how this went.  It filled a two whole days for me, and I have some lively reminders of the time spent.



I plan to link this with Lisa Marie Sayres Off the Wall Friday, as well as The Needle and Thread Network.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Changing focus

The past 3-4 weeks have been a frenzy of charity quilt making.  My family have convince me that I need to "de-stash", and this is one way of doing it.  I don't mind making simple, more traditional quilts--it can relax me--unless I get into tightly focused min set--which happened.   Then I started having problems with the most recent quilt, as I described in my previous post. I resolved the first couple of problems by tearing out and re-sewing.  This lead to a fear that I would run out of the beautiful tri-lobal polyester that I was using for my satin stitching. Going on-line to order more, I discovered that it's no longer available.  This resulted in a lot of frustration and bad words. I accepted the need to find an alternative, or two, or three, which I finally did, but this meant that there is different thread used in different sections of the quilt.  Okay, I can live with that.  Then the tension on the machine started to get "wonky", for the first time since I bought it 8 years ago.  More bad words, but I persevered and took extra care to check the tension every time I changed the bobbin.  

I just knew that as soon as the damn quilt was finished, (and I was close,) I would be taking the machine in for a long overdue general servicing.  Suddenly, a loud noise that sounded just like an important piece had broken inside the machine. 

I accepted that I was beat by the whole situation.  I stopped sewing immediately and got the machine ready to take into my dealer, which we did first thing this morning. 

Then my DH and I went for a drive in the country. Probably a very good decision.