Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Leaf Prints

There are a couple of small pieces on my worktable that I feel call for leaf prints, so today was the day.  The tree the leaves came from is very high, and my poor husband had to use a very long extension handle to knock the leaves off, but we got some very nice one, and the right size too!  We also discovered that the tree is infested with aphids, but that's another story.  

Since my current interest is in colouring and using older cotton Damask table linens, I used a large napkin that had been very gently treated in its past life, and was in pretty good shape.  I still stabilized it a bit with spray starch on the reverse side.

I'm very pleased with the result. My work space is fairly simple, a piece of glass to use as a palette, a bucket of water, two brayers, textile paint and textile medium, paper towel, and, of course, a bunch of leaves.  The fabric is stretched over a single layer of batting.  I put the leaf in the paint, wrong side down, cover it with a paper towel, and firmly press or roll ( using a clean brayer over the paper towel)to make sure all of the back is covered with paint.  Then, carefully lift the leaf off, position it on the fabric, cover with paper towel, and press again, ( using a clean brayer).  You'll notice that the fabric is marked to help position the various leaves. After they dry, and are heat set, I plan to stabilize the fabric with a light weight stabilizer and cut them apart with pinking shears.  They can then be raw edge appliqued over a pieced background.

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

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Today's progress report

The hand work continues, but I've also had a bit of studio time.  I mentioned that I had taken a Craftsy class, believing that the techniques might be useful in a sort of commission I have.  The next step was to design a piece to test the techniques, and see if they would suit one of my designs.  Well, I've finished that piece and am quite happy with the result, although it will never be suitable for any exhibition ( it's somewhat derivative, and there are a couple of places where the workmanship isn't quite up to snuff-mainly in the machine work)

Here it is, a full view and a close-up.  It is about 22" by 18".  The background is painted, and some of the fabrics are hand-dyed, while others are commercial, mainly batiks.

While all of this was going on, both my main, basement studio and the auxiliary upstairs studio have become a bit messy--quite a bit messy.  There is usually a short  "tidy up" ceremony whenever a piece is finished, and today's the day. 

Then, finally, I get to sit down and prepare a working pattern for the commission piece.

I plan to link this with Off the Wall Friday, and The Needle and Thread Network.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

WIP_Hand work

The last few days have been mainly dedicated to watching the Olympics.  This means a chance to do a bit of hand work.  Usually I only watch tv for an hour a day, or less, so hand work can mean weeks or months on one project.  But there are now two projects getting close to completion.

The first is going to be a needle roll, used to store knitting needles and accessories.  I have patterned this to be similar to a roll I made to store my good quality paint brushes, that  works well. This latest one is at the stage of machine quilting, prior to adding the pockets to the lining.  The hexies are 1 3/8", and the overall size is roughly 17 5/8" square.  This will be more precise after the quilting is finished, but before the navy blue binding goes on.

The other piece is going to end up as some sort of tote.  It's been many years since I tried any Cathedral Window piecing.  ( Maybe 35 years?) I had a recollection of how I was shown to do it, but checked the internet.  Found absolutely nothing that agreed with the method I had been taught. So I had to "wing it".  Everything I remembered and saw on the internet told me that the squares were 6 inches square, so I cut all my backing squares 6".  I think what the actual instruction meant was that the finished size of the square would be 6".  My finished squares are 2 1/2".  Imagine trying to do the final diamond applique in that dimension!  However, it should be ready to assembly within a day or so, if the Olympics stay as interesting as they have been.  As you can see, the bottom of the bag will be squared off, but I'm thinking of adding fabric to the top, and then gathering it as a Draw String bag.  I'm dithering over whether or not to put handles on it.  Unfortunately, some of the appliqued square will end up on the bottom of the bag, and, if I do this again, I will design it differently.  The bag should end up about 25" around from top of one side to top of the other, and about 12" across  each side.  This will be lined in plain brown cotton.

 I plan to link this, as a WIP, with The Needle and Thread Network.

Monday, August 1, 2016


The class project is finished, but I won't be showing a picture, as it's not my design.  It proved quite a challenge.  The issue was a familiar one to me--value.  Gets me very time!  My colours were basically  too much the same--a medium dark-- but there was one area, sky and water, that was light enough to provide contrast. So the whole piece was acceptable, although I'll never show it, not being my work.  So I put the binding on and stood back.  OMG!  One section was so much lighter that it stood out terribly, and it wasn't the focal point.  At this point, I would have done anything to get it off the work table, so out came the coloured pencils.  The area was darkened just enough that it fit in with the other colours, and I can now call the piece done!

So, did I learn anything?  Yes, I did.  This evening, I went back to the project with which I was wanting the help, to start with, and I think my approach to it has changed significantly, and for the better.  I have a much better idea of where I'm headed.