Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tyler's Quilt

These are pieces of Ultra Sateen that I just finished dyeing for my son's Christmas quilt. My son is in his first year of college, and I wanted him to be able to take something back with him that I had made. I already have the design tentatively completed, but that could easily change as things progress.
I kept dyeing and overdyeing the fabric until I was finally satisfied with the results. I really love the taupes, grays, blacks, and the coral together. I had a few rejected pieces, but not too many. I decided that it was better to not just settle for something that wasn't quite satisfactory.Check back in a few days to see my progress. The piece will be approximately 52" x 70" when done.
Here you can see the detail of the fabric. Some of these fabrics  I overdyed 3 or 4 times to achieve the desired result.  I used three basic colors which I mixed from primaries, with the exception of the black, in several different dilutions. I am hoping that when I actually sew them together I can achieve some sort of flow from one piece to the next. I will have to wait until another day to find out. It feels really good to be creating once again.

The Loneliest Bee

A few days ago I came home from a trip to find this poor little Yellow Jacket, a type of wasp, trying to make himself at home in my box of quilting pins. He must have thought that he was related to these objects in the box. After all, they were bright yellow, and they all had sharp pointy things on the end just like him. Poor little bee: I took him outside, separated him from his long lost relatives, and sent him on his way.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Red Balls Rising

Here is the finished piece that I had posted in progress last weekend. I had a blast making this piece. I purchased a Janome 6600 two years ago, and I have never quite made friends with it. I forced myself to complete the quilting with this little machine, and I now love the new machine.
Our fiber art group project was to use line in an art piece somehow. This is how I used it: I used thick black semi-diagonal lines to create irregular rhythm and grouping, I used the stitching in between the lines to create shapes, and I used the scribbly lines in the circles to create dimension and value. My color scheme was analogous, with the exception of the black lines, as the piece ranges in color from red to yellow and red to fuchsia in the stitching.
Check the other page on Fiber Art Group Studies to see the piece before stitching. For the round balls that look dimensional, this is how I achieved that effect: I placed a piece of silk organza on the back side of the red fabric where the circles were and then placed the piece in an embroidery hoop and stitched it. Next, I hand basted a piece of wool batting to the back side of the circles before I put my layers of backing, black Hobbs Heirloom batting, and top piece of fabric together.

The reason that I do this is that it enables me to leave areas unquilted and still lay flat without any unsightly puckering. You can see how smooth the transition is from the heavily stitched area to the densely quilted area. Also, by using the silk organza I added minimal weight or rigidity to the top layer of fabric, and now I don't have to get the piece wet to dissolve either my stabilizer or any water soluble thread. There usually is a method to my madness, and of course you do have to be at least a little bit crazy to do this kind of stuff to begin with.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cutting Table

Wen Redmond posted to the Quiltart Digest and asked people what their favorite piece of equipment is. Here is mine. I had a staionary cutting table for years which was made with this same table top. It had six bookcases underneath which provided a lot of room for storage, but the shelves got incredibly dusty and dirty. For my new table I wanted to be able to keep some things clean and out of sight. I also wanted to be able to move the table easily. The six large casters work great enabling me to move it very easily, and for the end units I purchased two base kitchen cabinets. I love this table. It is probably the most functional piece of equipment that I have. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Old Feather Pillow

This is an original piece that I made at least a hundred years ago when I first started quilting. It was inspired by the Willow Ware china, and the dark blue is the first piece of fabric that I had ever dyed.
To achieve the trapunto effect:
1. I used a very cheap unwashed muslin on the back side.
2. I used a prewashed Kona cotton on the top.
3. I quilted the piece, and then I washed it in hot water. While the muslin backing shrank up, the top fabric did not. This gave me extra room to add all of my "stuffing", or fill, in the raised up areas.
4.I then slit open each area to be stuffed, filled it with a really soft polyester fill, and then I sewed it back together.
5. I backed the whole thing with another fabric.

The blue fabric is reverse appliqued by hand over the top of the white. I knew that if I did it the other way around I would get shading from the blue showing through the white. It was machine quilted on my faithful old Bernina 910.
This piece was selected as the Judge's Choice by Holice Turnbow, whose work I have long admired, at a conference and show in Duluth which I can't remember the name of (one of the longarm shows I believe).
This post was in response to Alan Kelchner's trapunto dilemma.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Textile Art Juried Into Museum Exhibition

This is the finished piece that I submitted to the museum, Life Force. It measures 50" x 40". It was chosen as one of the pieces to be exhibited at the Morris Graves Museum for the Spring Show of the Redwood Arts Association. It is not the same piece as Red and Yellow, but one that I had completed earlier. My time ran out, and I was not able to finish the piece I had originally intended to enter. The upside is that I now have all the time I need to really do justice to my new work.

This is a closeup of the detail of the painting and the stitching. I overpainted all of the gutta with Lumiere paint and then inked around the edges.

This is the overlay. The most difficult part was hand basting this stitched grid to the silk. Even with the silk taped down to the table and using rulers, it was still very challenging. After I dissolved the Solvy, most of my lines were somewhat skewed. You can see the color gradation in the thread in this photo. The wavy red lines on the Solvy indicate where the thread color shifts from light to dark. There were seven different gradations in the thread color.

Here is the silk that I began with which I painted with Tinfix silk paint. I painted this piece outdoors at the Mendocino Art Center, in Mendocino, CA, in a workshop with Suzanne Punch. I had to stretch the silk between two saw horses outside. As the wind came roaring up the hill from the ocean, my silk began flapping in the breeze. My gutta was whisked from my brush onto the fabric capturing the movement and energy of that powerful force. Suzanne Punch is an incredible artist with a unique teaching style. I love her large abstract painted silk pieces, and I credit her with helping me to develop an appreciation for abstract art.