Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I promised pictures of what I've accomplished in the last week  One piece was finished and I was taking a photo, when, viewing it through the camera, I realized that it was off square.  A quick look told me that it was beyond fixing.  I showed DH, who took a look and said--" I guess you want me to pull that apart and save the beads for you"  Yup!  That was the only thing to do with it. Here is "the Bad".

The Good, is a second piece that I finished and framed.  It started with a clean-up rag ( Always save your clean-up rags.  They can turn out to be the best pieces you did that day!)  White cotton with paint wipes all over it--some with fabric paint and some with acrylic.  I FMQ'd the white areas with Cobblestones pattern and the coloured areas with a grid, using a grey/white Sulky Blenadable.  Then I covered three FlexiFirm triangles with white Duipionni silk and added novelty beads.  I had been prepared to use a lot more beads, but by the time I got these larger ones on, it appeared to be just right.  I laced it onto foamcore and framed it.  I am quite pleased.

White Wedding--full view

White Wedding-close-up

The Ugly are some of the prints I did yesterday during the dyeing/painting day with my Ravenesque group.  Now, I refuse to take full responsibility for some of my disasters.  We were working in a parking lot, in high winds.  I didn't realize that the table was at an angle until I poured paint on the sheet of glass I wanted to use for pulling prints,  the paint ran right off and onto the ground.  I was using Seta-Color, diluted 50/50, as I usually do, but it was just too runny. The result is four prints of black and fuschia blobs.  Ugly! However, I didn't heat set them and ran them through the washing machine today.  The result is grey and pink blobs, but light enough that I can add more layers and, hopefully, save the pieces.  I'm starting to think that my best bet may be to cut the four of them in pieces and sew sew them back together in different places to make one large 24" by 24" piece.

 I then tried the paint full strength and used a breyer to spread it around.  This gave a better result, but was drying too fast.  I would spread my paint and embed leaves in it, and then pull a print.  Then I would take the leaves, and use the paint-y veined side to make a print on a piece of dry cloth.  This dry cloth had been low water immersion dyed, using light pink and blue  dye, then clamped between two round drink coasters, and dyed a dark navy.  The result was almost like a series of pale "moons" in a dark sky.  I did the leaf prints of some of the "moons" but not all.  I really, really like this piece, and very much want to refine the technique and try it again.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Coincidence?--I think not!

My small fibre art support group has planned a painting and dyeing day for the holiday on Monday.  One of the ladies and I had planned to try our  hands at Shibori type dyeing, and the dyeing that uses clamping ( Forgot the name, but it is a variation of Shibori).We're both also wanting to try some of the landscape painting that Mickey Lawler describes in her most recent book-"Skyquilts".  So I've been gathering fabric and clamps and shapes to use with the clamps, and reading up on techniques.  Imagine my surprise when I read about a course in this type of dyeing being offered locally!  And with a dyer I have taken courses from before, and respect.

So, of course, I had to sign up immediately.  Luckily, I received a cheque today for some items I had sold, it just about covers the cost of the course. However, I spent several hours trying to get my deposit in before the deadline.  This involved two trips to the bank , a road trip, and over 1/2 hour on the phone with PayPal trying to find out why they had frozen my account. But, I'm registered, and already getting excited.

I have just about finished two pieces for the sale in July.  Should be able to get pictures up tomorrow, or Sunday.  The rest of the weekend will be taken up with packing a fair chunk of my studio to take with me for the dyeing day--even if it is a little redundant now.

Monday, May 14, 2012


In an effort to jump-start my creativity, I've been going through my stash, seeing if anything could be used, and came across a bunch of mono-prints that I did last December.  Most of them were done with acrylic paint, which certainly changes the "hand" of the fabric, but not to the point that it was too stiff for the sewing machine.  Since I'm also building stock for a sale in July, I decided to turn the prints into small purses.  I would have preferred to make them into 12 by 12 wall hangings, but the prints were only 11 inches wide.  All I did was quilt them and sew them up. ( "all" that quilting took three days!)What a neat result!  The colours  are bright and vibrant and each of them is "one-of-a-kind".
purses from mono-prints
These were made using a technique described by Melani Testa, but I did draft my own pattern and make some changes in the technique itself.  The quilting patterns were determined by the print, itself.  My favourite is the one on the upper left, where the print had a pattern made from bubble wrap, and the quilting pattern used was round circles, placed over the circles of the bubble wrap.  Where there were no circles to work from, I used a fine FMQ'd grid.

The next project is to make some of those 12 by 12's, but I may actually have to make some more prints for that. I found three potential fabrics in my stash, but only one of them appears to be working out.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cleaning up the studio

This is sort of a general putter and often involves finishing UFO's.  One was a fantastic response to the most recent Fast Friday Fabric Challenge, so was quickly finished as the challenge deadline was noon yesterday.  The piece called "Water World' evolved from my first experiment with Lutradur. I coloured the Lutradur with Tee-Juice markers in a lovely acqua, but discovered that the colour faded out when the Lutradur was backed with navy fabric.  So I layered the Lutradur with a second layer of itself and cut out the pattern with an electric needle. Then each small piece was fused down and appliqued with a narrow zig-zag stitch.  The piece was machine quilted in fairly close echo quilting, inspired by an article in Quilting Arts e-magazine, "In Stitches 6". The piece is about 16" by 16".

Water World close-up

Water World

While "water World" had been considered as a possible replacement for my "Waterfall", I also managed to finally finish a replacement piece I am more comfortable with.  If you remember, "Waterfall" was planned for a show in the fall, and deadlines loomed.  The new piece is a soft sculpture box titled "Subtle Seas".

As  some of you may know, I recently went through a lengthy period of creative block.  Since last August, when I discovered an allergy to coffee, my creativity has returned.  I have ideas, and, of course, want to get at them all right now!  This is such a wonderful feeling after the dispair that I often felt during darker times.