Monday, July 25, 2011

Fast Friday Fabric Challenge

The first Friday of every month a challenge is issued to the members of FFFC. I haven't been able to do the last two or three. There are some members who are able to meet each challenge, however, you aren't required to do so. I've been working on finishing up a couple of large pieces the last few months so I have chosen not to participate.

When I saw the challenge for this month, I really liked the topic and so decided to get at least the top done for this one.

The challenge is explained below:

Challenge 59 - Solitude
July 2011 Challenge 59 – Solitude Host: Ann Turley Due: July 30th noon ET

What comes to mind when you hear the word “solitude”? Do you think of the state of being alone, yet not really lonely? Solitude and loneliness are often thought of as being similar, yet there is a definite difference. Loneliness is accompanied by a sense of isolation and separation, and a feeling that something is missing. Solitude is a state of being alone without being lonely. It is a desirable state, one that can be used as a time of reflection and personal growth or enjoyment. A great example is reading, a very solitary activity. And for our own purposes here at Fast Friday, when we engage in the creative process of developing an idea, we work in happy solitude. I’ve included a link to an article from “Psychology Today” that I found to be useful in writing this month’s challenge:

Your challenge is to create a piece of fiber art that demonstrates solitude in a representational abstract manner.
"Lost in the Music" size 22" x 27"

I used a photograph of my granddaughter as inspiration for this piece. The lighting was low on the stage making it hard to get a photograph that wasn't somewhat blurred.
When I worked on the photo in Photo Shop Elements I got what looked like two or three images around her body. I thought this was quite cool and fit the abstract requirements for this challenge.

I had an incredibly beautiful piece of Sky Dye fabric that I've been hanging onto for years that was the perfect fabric for this piece. The dress is cut from the same piece of fabric in different areas to get the movement I was looking for. I used turquoise tulle fused with Misty Fuse to make the pleats on the skirt. Misty Fuse adds a little texture but doesn't interfere with the open look of tulle.

I made use of scrap fabric left over from "Connor" to make the face and body. The background curtain is a black on black cotton.

As I said earlier I've been doing a lot of machine quilting and while I find quilting creative it doesn't really satisfy my need to create. This project was small enough for me to at least get the top finished within the time frame and meet that need to create as well.

A fun project.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Focus Fiber Art's July Meetingt

Focus meet this past Wednesday at my home. Dixie Haywood is still in the clean out mode. She is trying to use up samples made over a thirty year career as a teacher and author. She has been making "Lovies" for Diana and Veronica's guild in Spartanburg.
Marge, Donna, Janet and Diana look over some of the 18 lovies Dixie made this month.

This is also one of Dixie's pieces that she will also use as a donation.

Diana's husband retired in Jan. they purchased and RV and plan to do a lot of traveling. Diana wanted some handwork to keep her busy during these trips. Here it is just six months later and she already has this wonderful piece put together. She has started quilting it and hopes to have it ready for the Asheville, NC Quilt Show.

Before starting the quilting of a new piece, especially if she hasn't free motion quilted recently, she works on a comfort quilt to warm up.

Marge Edie's very large quilt was the inspiration for Diana to use diamonds in her hand sewn quilt. Marge has been working for over a year on this one. I can't wait to see it finished it is going to be a master piece.

Donna Barnhill's first brought this piece to Focus a couple months ago. As usual we had some ideas to share with her and she culled out what she liked and ended up with this neat piece.

Donna added many different pieces of copper as embellishments and turned this traditional pattern into a piece of artwork

Janet Ginn brought this piece last month, all she had were a few of the circles made and was asking for advice on how to mount them. As I said earlier we always have advice.

One of the great things about Focus is we can ask for advice but we don't feel as if we are hurting anyone's feeling by not taking that advice. Janet did just that with this piece. Best I remember we were looking at a black and white background. Janet decided to add some squares to go with the circles and now she has a wonderful bright comfort quilt.

Okay I know you've been waiting to see a number of pieces by Veronica. Well it seems that exercise and blueberries have been keeping her busy this month. She did manage to get this piece beaded. It was interesting to walk around the piece and see the beans sparkle.

I shared this sample piece that I am practicing on. I wanted to try the quilting design on the small piece to make sure it was right for my larger quilt.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

More Quilting on "Spirit of the Kiva"

After taking yesterday off for a Focus Meeting, more on that later, I began working on the top of the Kiva today.

This area is underground. Wooden beams and planks support the earth on top. There is an entry hole with a ladder for you to use to enter the Kiva.

I entered the Kiva at just the right time of day. The sun was in a position that made wonderful shadows of the ladder and opening on the floor.

I decided the stones needed a darker thread outline.
This is the finished sample. I think the quilting lines accomplished the look I was after. The Kiva stands out while the girl appears as a spirit.

I posted the photos a littler larger than I normally do so you can enlarge to get a better view of the quilting. These photos were taken without the aid of a tripod so they aren't quite as sharp as they should be.

Any comments would be appreciated.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Happy Dance

I got the fat email from IQA Houston today. "Ohm" was juried into the World of Beauty Show at Houston.

"Caught in the Web" did not make it but I'm happy to have one accepted.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quilting "Spirit of the Kiva"

After quilting "Connor" recently I decided that by using a photo of the finished fabric face I could mark quilting lines on the paper to see if I liked the design.

These are the two photographs that I blended in Photo Shop Elements. The idea that I wanted to convey was one of spiritualism.

I felt that the blending of these two photos did just that. So instead of printing this one on paper I decided to use my new Epson 1100 and print it on fabric. With this printer I can print a 13" x 19" piece of fabric.

This size is large enough to actually quilt and get a better idea of what the large piece will look like.

I decided to start with the stone wall at the bottom of the ladder and moved on to shadow inside the Kiva.

I marked the shadow on the fabric.

And began quilting.
My idea for this piece is for the girl to be the spirit in the Kiva. Because of this I decided that the Kiva should be the only quilting lines in the piece. I was concerned about actually placing quilting lines through the eyes of the girl and that is the reason I decided to print on fabric.

I got this far with the piece today and think I am on track. However, sometimes I feel that I am too close to the piece so any feed back would be appreciated.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A lesson Learned

I spent two days this week at the AQS Quilt Show in Knoxville, TN. It was a good show but I noticed that many of the quilts were really wrinkled. This distracted so much from the beauty of the quilts.

I've sent many quilts to AQS shows over the years and know that they take good care of them. I have to assume that the wrinkling came from being packed incorrectly by the sender.

I looked on the Internet to see if there were instructions for folding a quilt for shipment. There were many. One was to fold on the bias, folding corners to the center and eventually ending with a rectangle. One of the quilts I saw there had very obviously used this method, you could see all the folds. This method may work in many cases and I'm not condemning it, but it did not work in this case.

The method that works for me is to roll tissue paper or bubble wrap and lay it in the fold of the quilt. I make as few folds as possible to get it in a reasonably sized box.

Rolling the quilt and mailing it in a tube or three sided box makes for a crease free quilt upon arrival.

If I'm lucky enough to have more quilts accepted in shows I will make sure that when my quilt arrives it will be wrinkle free.

Monday, July 11, 2011

More Information on Connor's Pineapple Quilt

I received a lot of request from readers to post a larger image of my finished Connor piece. Here it is. I've also decided to go through the process of making this quilt.
I start with a photograph that I like. I enter it into Photo Shop Elememts and after doing some tweaking to the image I posterize the photo using 8 layers. I then enlarge the photo to the desired size.
I chose my fabric. This is hand dyed to my specifications by Vicki Welsh

I trace the image onto muslin with pencil. I always begin working with the eyes. Two reason for this. The eyes set back further than any other part of the face so they need to be in first. The eyes are almost always the first thing we look at in a person's face. Therefore we want them to be correct.

I progress from around the eyes. Always use the lightest color on the bottom so you do not get shading.
Here I have finished Connor's face and started the pineapple.

I've chosen Connor's shirt fabric, the background fabric and the foreground fabric and add them here. I am not happy with the eyes but have to look at it for a while before I make a change. NOTE: I have not ironed down anything. This is the last thing I do. You might note that the eyes and background have changed from this photo to the finished photo.

Oops, almost forgot the hand. I built my images separately and then put them together similar to a puzzle.

Hand and pineapple greenery attached together.

This photo shows the old background. Take a look at his teeth, they are far to white. I changed that as well. After getting this far I let the top rest on my design wall for a couple of weeks.

When I started quilting I again started with his eyes.

Finished his face and hair and then went onto other parts to finish the quilting. I learned a lot making this quilt but I learned the most about the actual quilting. If you have any questions or would like some of the photos posted larger let me know.

Almost forgot I had a request for a closeup of the pineapple. Here it is.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Whitewater Rafting Bull Sluice on the Chattooga

I don't often blog about family things but I did something today that I wouldn't have believed doing in a million years. I went whitewater rafting down the Chattooga River (Think Deliverance). After heavy rains upstream last night we went down, what our guide said were, class 5 rapids.

Bull Sluice is well known in our area because it's a short distance from a main highway. Lots of people hike up to the bottom of the sluice to watch crazy people go over.

We were some of those crazy people. We have two our our granddaughters visiting from Mt. Pleasant and a friend each. Nana and Papa wanted to entertain them. So crazy that we are, we took them whitewater rafting.

The only people you can see here is our guide, John, who is my new hero, myself, with an unadulterated look of fear on my face and my husband Kermit.

My hero is keeping me in the raft.
The only people seen here are two of the girls and John. At that point I'm under water, but still in the raft.

Time out for a group shot.

And we are on our way for more rafting. Fun? Yes, but I don't think I want to do Bull Sluice again.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Connor's finally finished!

Before Quilting

After Quilting

An interested thing I found out about designing, making and then quilting a piece like Connor's portrait is that the free-motion-machine quilting took as much time as did the actual making of the front. I've been quilting since 1996 and it took me 15 years to reach this conclusion.

I've always know that the quilting was an important part of the process but I think I have just realized how important it is. I've resisted machine quilting though I know how important it is to what I do.

Why? Because I never felt I was a good machine quilter, so I put off quilting as long as I can. Well, while this piece is not quilted perfectly I feel that I made a break through in my quilting.

Probably the biggest break through came when I decided to make a photo of the different elements on the quilt. I took a photo of Connor's face and while looking at the original photo I drew lines on the photo where I thought I should machine quilt. This approach worked quite well for me.

In the past I have started quilting without a plan. Because I did plan this time I knew when I got to a certain point where I needed to go next.

My next break through came when I decided that unless I absolutely can not make a portrait without Steam-A-Seam Lite I won't use it any more. I am a big Misty Fuse fan but because it doesn't have stickum on the back it doesn't stay in place as well as SAS.

It is because of this fact that I have been using SAS Lite. However, I find it to be difficult to sew through and leaves major needle holes in my face. It is tough and gums up my machine. My next portrait will be an experience in using Misty Fuse.

This are two lessons that I'm grateful for learning. Now I just have to put them in practice.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

More Quilting on Connor's Face

I began my quilting on Connor's face by starting with his eye's. Actually that is were I began when putting his face together as well. If you were to layer a face, you would find that eyes are the deepest layer, so I always start there.

After finishing the eyes I started working around the eye and worked outward. As I said in my previous post I had taken a photo of Connor's face from my finished fabric piece and drew my quilting design on it before I started the actual quilt. That gave me a good idea how to proceed.
I finished quilting his head by stitching his hair last. I had used several shades of brown in his hair showing high lights and shadows so I basically followed those areas using different shades of brown thread.

I am not an accomplished free motion quilter and I have yet to come up with "a favorite thread". Normally for my work I prefer cotton because I don't like the sheen that Silk, Rayon and Polyester give off. For this project, however, I did use all three of the shinny threads. My favorite was the silk.

Tomorrow I will post the finished project and give you a few more of my thoughts on things learned.

Happy Fourth!