Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunflowers in the Rust

Well, I can happily report that I have finished the rust piece that I have been working on for the past couple of weeks. I wanted to enter it in an Atlanta show and the deadline was today, so I was working down to the wire.

In doing some practice work (see previous post), I realized that I was going to have to do some thread work on the piece, so I started out by backing it with a very lightweight fusible interfacing.

I used Golden Threads tracing paper to draw the sunflowers.....wasn't game to try to freehand them with thread.



I then sewed around the paper design.




.....and removed the paper.

I did the same thing with the leaves, and then sewed around the designs 2, 3 or 4 times, depending on how heavy I wanted the lines to be.


As I did the thread work, the fabric started to draw up slightly, making the fabric look wrinkled in the flowers, so I decided to trapunto the flowers and ended up adding extra batting to all of the elements, including the grass at the bottom.

I am happy with the borders on the piece as the first one on the right and bottom used fabrics that I had stamped.

Final step was to baste and quilt the piece. All of the rust colored lines were quilted just following the design of the flowers. Then I had to decide what to do to the background. I started with even lines at the top, but moved into curvy lines in the interior of the piece. The main reason that I did this was because it was easier to do, but, in retrospect, I really like the way it looks.

I decided to face the quilt rather than bind it.

It is always a good feeling to finish a piece.....now on to the next 4 or 5 that are in my mind!!!!

BQL for June

As I have mentioned before, I am a member of the "British Quilt List" monthly challenge and yesterday was the due date for the June quilt. As soon as I finished the rust piece, I immediately started working on this one and fortunately it didn't take very long to make. The list moderator, Kandy Newton has once again done a wonderful job of designing a quilt that helps us to try different techniques.....this time it was tucks.



She gave two great pieces of advice. The first was to use high contrast fabrics and the second was to starch the fabrics before we started cutting!!!

I cant wait to see the next installment.

Monday, June 22, 2009

More of Mom's Work

Since we have had visitors for the last week, I haven't had much time to quilt, so thought I would at least post a couple of my Mother's quilts. These two have been done in the last 10 years and I think that they are both really nice.......



I did find a couple of hours yesterday to start on the rust piece and am happy with how the flowers look. I spent last night searching the internet for photos of sunflower stalks so I can get the correct shapes for the leaves.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Here's to a free Sunday Afternoon!!!

It was nice to realize that, after Church this morning, we didn't have any plans for the day, so Michael hit the deck to catch a bit of sun and I ran to my studio and grabbed the paints that I had bought this past week.

The first project was to get the border fabric ready for the Sunflower Quilt. I had bought a really cool abstract sunflower stamp and was planning to use it to spruce up the border fabric for the quilt.

My first problem was getting the stamp mounted.....the first piece of wood that I cut was slightly bowed and wouldn't print properly. So, instead of making a trip to the store, I found an old stamp that I never use and mounted the new one on the top side of the old stamp....two for one!!!

I then started playing with paints, starting out with a brown Setacolor. It seemed to disappear into the fabric too much, so I decided to play with mixing my own colors (thanks to Maggi for suggesting this in the previous comments). I had read that you could mix all of the Jacquard water based dyes, so I started with Brown Dynaflow, added Copper Lumiere and then a small amount of the original brown Setacolor. I was mixing these in an old butter container and was trying to figure out what to mix them with. The light bulb went off and I grabbed a straw to mix with.

Then I used the straw to drip spots of the paint onto the shiny side of Freezer Paper and used a sponge brush to pick up the paint and transfer it to the stamp.

Here is the fabric with just a portion of it printed.


There were a few spots that I felt needed to be filled in a bit, so I got out the sponges that I use when I am doing a faux surface on my walls, and used it to fill in some more.

Here is the finished product (click on it to see the stamping).....I am really excited about using it in my quilt!!!!



Now, I had this small amount of mixed up paint and I really did not want to throw it away, so I decided to take Melody Johnson's advice and quilt worrying about the rules of dyeing and to just play!!!!

I wet a fat quarter of PFD (Prepared For Dyeing) fabric and put it into a bowl. I then added a small amount of water to the dyes and poured them over the fabric.

After the fabric was well saturated, I took it outside, laid it out relatively flat and sprinkled Kosher Salt over the top. For the next 30 minutes I went out every 5 minutes and checked on the progress. It was fun to watch the color pool around the salt to achieve a mottled effect.


Here is the final result, after heat setting and washing again. It will be a great addition to my "Lights" section of the stash.


I still had some afternoon left, so I wanted to plan and play with the quilting that I was going to do on the sunflowers. I didn't want to practice on the real piece, so I copied part of the image onto a piece of fabric, made my quilt sandwich and started quilting.

I learned a few things with this practice....... first of all, I dont have to be really concerned about the design of the sunflowers....they seem to take care of themselves.

Secondly, I realized that it is going to take more than one line of stitching to make the sunflowers stand out......it is actually going to take 3, 4 or 5 times around them.....and with more than one color of thread. SO, I have decided to do some thread work on the piece before I sandwich it to quilt.

Anyway, it promises to be a fun piece to work on and I can't wait to get started!!!! But, it may have to wait a week or so because we have friends from Australia coming for a week-long visit starting Tuesday.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Score!!!!

Yesterday, I went to Michael's Crafts looking for some fabric paints or inks that I can use with the Sunflower Stamp that I bought on E-Bay. Instead, I found that they were getting rid of most of their fabric paints, and they were 50% plus off!!! So, I bought lots of Dy-na-Flow, Set-a-color and Lumiere paints.



Mind you, I dont have any plans for these, but have been wanting to experiment with painting some fabrics so this is a good way to try it on the cheap.

Color selection was not super inspiring, but beggars cant be choosers.

Now I have something to play with this summer!!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another one finished

On Monday, I finished a quilt that will be given as a wedding present for one of Jenny's good friends. I pieced the top during tax season....one of my "dont think....just sew" projects.

I really like how the rectangles float on the surface.


I debated for a long time about how to quilt it and ended up using my friend, Anita's, idea about printing out several photos of the quilt and practicing different quilting designs on paper. I finally decided to divide the quilt into areas and quilt each of those in a different pattern. All in all, I am fairly pleased with it. If you click on the photo, I think that you can see the quilting.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Home Again

We returned to Georgia on Sunday evening and are back into the swing of life again. We had a good time in Portugal, but it is always good to get home again.

I can now reveal my challenge piece since we had our Guild showing last night. The theme for the challenge was "Blooming "Pokka" Dot", and was to be made entirely of polka-dot fabrics.

My original idea was to make a wonderful basket of flowers, or maybe two or three. I had considered 3-dimensional flowers, even trying a few from a borrowed book.

BUT....when it comes to challenge quilts, I have trouble getting excited about them until the inspiration strikes me, and in this case the inspiration fairy had a sick sense of humor!!!!

As I kept on thinking about the title of the challenge, I kept coming back to "poking" dots, so here is the finished product......

I am fairly new to surface embellishments and enjoyed starting out with using a few buttons in this piece. I had originally planned to make more dots and attach them with springs, but I couldn't find any that were the correct strength (strong enough to hold them up, but loose enough to still have movement), so I moved on to buttons.

There were 22 challenges in all and, as usual, it was fun to see how each of us interpreted the challenge.
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