Thursday, January 30, 2014

It's been A Cold Week

I've been hunkered down in my studio this week. When the weather is so cold and we have snow I usually get lots done. That's been the case this week, I just don't have anything to show for it.

I an going to teach at the NCQS, North Carolina Quilt Symposium in May and the BRQF, Blue Ridge Quilt Festival in VA in July so I am making new samples and creating patterns.

I spent the week putting together patterns, fabrics and supplies to take with me on a month long trip to CA. I also plan on creating instructions for these classes and working on updating my web site.

However the most important supplies are ones that I have put together to spend time creating with my granddaughter. She's ten and loves to sew and create and I love to be her teacher. I have been looking Into knitting lessons for her, my DIL and myself. I've taught them how to do the basics but I'm not a seasoned knitter and I think all of us could use some help. I have a project that I want to do but it's over my head and I think they would benefit from someone who really knows knitting.

Is a month enough time to get this all done? Stay tuned.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Finishing Up

I've been working on finishing the hydrangea blossom for one of my new floral pieces. The finishing technique I use to give my flower petals depth is paint. I often use watercolor pencils as they are easier to control so that was my first choice when I began the process. I have four different sets and brands of watercolor pencils and they just weren't doing the trick.

Photo before painting.

I tried inks diluted in Aloe jell, crayons, pens and finally with acrylic paint I found what I needed for the job. Below is the finished piece waiting to be attached to the background and quilted. I find there to be a big difference in the appearance of the flowers after this technique I'd finished. Hopefully you will be able to compare these two piece. Can't wait to get this one done.
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Saturday, January 18, 2014

I Almost Gave Myself a Heart Attack Today

You may remember the thread painting that I have been working on for the past year. It is a large piece of my grandson Connor when he was about three years old.

I finished the piece a while ago and found that there was a bulge in the watering can. It had to be fixed. Thanks to Carol Shinn's book Freestyle Machine Embroidery and her clear instructions I think I was pretty successful in fixing the problem.

I forgot to take a before photo but this is a photo after I cut the fabric. Carol suggest that you cut in an irrigular line. You then overlap the two and cut away the overlaping material.

Before you butt the two pieces together you paint the white edges of the fabrics. This makes it easier to blend. I used inks that I diluted in Aloe  Jell.

Here I butted the two pieces together. On the back I applied a piece of fabric with Misty Fuse.

I then thread painted over the area using several different colors of thread. Unless you are up close in a well light area you can not see where the repair took place.

This is the finished piece. It will be added to a background that is ready to quilt. This has been a real experiment for me and it's not over yet. I'm not sure how I will attach this to the background. Part of the left side of Connor's body will extend outside of the background. Lots yet to do but I'm quite happy so far.

We have been away a lot lately and my time in the studio has been very limited. I hope to have a really productive week this coming week. More later.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Zinna and Iris

It's been a week of reworking quilts or sample workshop pieces. I need to get some new pieces ready for an exhibit I have coming up in April. I've been going through what I have, what I have in progress and what I need to get done before April. the quilt to the left was made several years ago and while I posted it on my blog and web site I never showed it anywhere.

I was never really happy with the piece because I had not done a good job on the quilting. I bit the bullet this past week, removed the facing and started reworking the quilting.

The top photo is the reworked piece with the one under this sentence the old piece.  

I had quilted iris and iris leaves in the background just as an outline. I did no quilting in between. The iris was minimally quilted. I added quite a bit more to the iris giving it more definition.   I then did a lot of meander quilting between the outline of the iris and leaves. It's hard to see here but if you enlarge the photos it is very obvious. I was much happier with the piece and will add it to my exhibit.

When I teach a class I always do a demo. This is a piece I started at one of my J. C. Campbell Folk School classes several years ago. I didn't like it there was not enough color variation in the petals and I didn't like the center. Therefore I never did anything with the piece.

This is the piece after I changed some of the petals and the center. I'm liking it much better. Now I have to find the right background.

Backgrounds are so important to a piece. If I can't get anything else across to my students in class I hope that this bit of information sticks.

After auditioning many pieces for the background this is the one that fit the bill.

  I still have quite a bit of quilting to do on the petals and haven't even started the background yet but I'm  quite pleased with this piece.

Lots of traveling next week so don't expect to get much done but I'm back to it SASP.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Holidays are over, It's back to work

The week before we left to visit our family for Christmas I had and unexpected open day. I had done some prep for my SAQA Trunk Show 7" X 10" piece so it was ready for me to thread paint.

Hungry Bee is printed on silk fabric and heavily thread painted. The bee was thread painted on dissoluble Solvy and then added to the Mexican Sunflower.  It went off in the main today so I can strike off one more thing.

This week has been both good and bad in the studio. Good because I decided that this piece needed to be re-quilted. I finished this piece several years ago but was unhappy with it and never showed it except on my web site and blog.


 I took the facing off and quilted very densely in the background. Before I had only quilted leaves and and shadow irises. I also quilted the iris quite a bit more. I am so glad I took the time to rework this piece because now I like it and I won't be ashamed to show ir.

The name comes to this piece because it was sunset when I was taking the photo I used as inspiration. The light was just right making the colors brilliant.

Now for the bad. My machine went bonkers the day after I finished this piece. It was sewing so beautifully, one of my better experiences in free motion quilting.
I cleaned the machine, changed the needle threaded  the machine with a different thread and started on a new project. Clunk, Clunk, Knot, Thread Throw-up, well you get the idea. I worked for hours doing everything I could think to remedy the problem. Finally I gave up and turned the machine off.

I sent a plea out to the SAQA Yahoo Group asking for help. I got lots of great ideas to try although I had already tried many of them. This group is so sharing with their knowledge and time. I really thank them for responding. Anyway, this morning I decided to change the type and brand of thread that I was using yesterday. I had changed the thread and bobbin several times yesterday but not the type and brand. For some reason this seemed to do the trick. I'm still getting a little clunk now and then and the thread breaks but nothing like yesterday. I believe I am going to take it in to the shop to see if there is a little piece of thread stuck somewhere, or perhaps a burr on the plate. At least I can sew. I've decided that I will hold off on working on my hydrangea until I know the problem is solved.

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