Made on Monday 8 – Whiteout

Thinking this week about my two youngest nieces and other dear friends out on the East coast, enduring some very heavy weather and blizzard conditions. I had a great response to the minimalist aspect of my post last week (Atmostpheric River) and surprised myself by liking that one a lot myself, in spite of my love for riotous color. I’m going to go with the monochrome thing for a bit, and explore the various ways one can sculpt the surface of fabric. Here is my MoM piece for this week:  Whiteout

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Visit Kate Bridger ‘s web site for more information about Made on Monday, or the Textile Arts group on Facebook, to see what others are doing. References I’m using for my project include Ruth Singer’s Fabric Manipulation: 150 Creative Sewing Techniques, and The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Collette Wolff.

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Made on Monday 7 – Atmospheric River

I’m still exploring tucks this week, and I still continue to be inspired by the weather. Here in Northern California, after a longer drought than most of us can remember, we are getting a very wet winter, thanks to El Nino. The NWS forecast refers to an ‘atmospheric river’ bringing successive bands of heavy rain on shore. Yesterday, as the latest storm approached, we headed out to our favorite vantage point on the coast (Duncans Landing) to check the surf. The steady line of waves coming ahead of the storm was pretty impressive.DSC00116

Today, I’m adding a bit of my process because I’ve been encouraged by some of my enablers from TreadleOn. Cheryl suggested I try out my vintage tucker (or tuck marker, or tuck creaser, as you may prefer), after Becky (Fiddly Bits) posted another cool YouTube video of a very old tucker she uses on her Florence fancy leg treadle. If you are interested in vintage machines, you should check out Becky’s videos. My personal favorite is the one where she’s sewing quilt blocks in the cab of the tractor while plowing a huge field. How about that technology mashup?

Anyhow, I buffed up the old tuck marker I found for a quarter in the thrift store and set it up on my Featherweight. Sorry to my people-powered friends, but I don’t have any untailed machines that will accept a low-shank Singer foot–at least where I can get to them–at present. But the FW did just great. IMG_1546At left is a closeup of the first few completed pleats. You can see the crease mark made by the attachment to the right of the nearest pleat. I discovered that the mark shows up best if the right side of the fabric where the mark will go is face down in the attachment. Next (below) is a picture of the setup. The fold edge of the pleat goes over the crease marker and under the presser foot. The rear guide scale determines the depth of the pleats, and the front marker sets the distance between them and makes a crease in the appropriate location.IMG_1551

Here are a couple of views of the work from the back (left) and front (right). The accuracy of the pleating is really remarkable. I didn’t iron in between forming the pleats, just finger pressed along the line.

IMG_1553IMG_1555 As you see in the finished piece, it was much easier for me to make nice straight, regular pleats with the tucker than it was for me to keep my stitching lines straight across the pleats.

And here is MoM #7 – Atmospheric River

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Thanks for visiting. And stay tuned for more tucking experiments!

 

 

Visit Kate Bridger ‘s web site for more information about Made on Monday, or the Textile Arts group on Facebook, to see what others are doing. References I’m using for my project include Ruth Singer’s Fabric Manipulation: 150 Creative Sewing Techniques, and The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Collette Wolff.

Big Noise

My Floating Squares score quilt (the Loud Quilt) stalled out after my last post. But that doesn’t mean it was out of sight or mind. It was keeping me awake at night, pestering me with a lot of questions about how and when I would get back to it. And I was not cooperating…I just left it there in a pile and told it to pipe down while I worked on some other things.

For one thing, I didn’t have room on my little closet door design wall to hang all the units and arrange them. Never mind, I later discovered that no matter how they were laid out, I had pretty much the same result, visually. I liked the clash of colors, and the cacophony, but I could see that my floating squares had dissappeared. They were all melting together into a puddle of super-saturated colors and bold patterns. A good lesson about why negative space is so important–something I routinely forget or ignore.

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Thinking about this led me to consider adding another, less assertive fabric, that would provide some relief. I played around with this idea using the Brushes app for iPad. I learned of this watching a documentary about the British artist  David Hockney, who began using this technology for making sketches for his paintings, and now has created a whole new art form with it.

[Note: I do not compare myself in any way with a great artist, but the technology is fun, fascinating and relatively inexpensive! I use it a lot to sketch ideas I have for projects, or just to doodle.]

I imported a photo of the Loud-Quilt-In-Progress into the app and then played around with ways to chop it up and add backgrounds. I decided that a black and white print would fill the bill.

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Of course, I don’t have anything like the swirly pattern in the iPad image above, but I did find a couple of large pieces of this sort of abstract houndstooth print.

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IMG_1505I laid out some of the units on it to see how it looked. I think it might work. My helper liked it a lot. In fact she couldn’t get enough of it. IMG_1506The next phase will be joining my completed units together with this background fabric. I’m finding that maintaining my interest in this score is hard for me. Is that why I avoided it for so long? Do I have quilter’s block? One problem is the size of the quilt top that will result, far bigger than anything I have done so far–and even bigger now that I’m adding a fourth fabric to the mix. How will I ever quilt it in my cramped space? Also, I really enjoy working on a smaller scale. Part of the attraction there is that I can finish a project before I get bored with it. I get brainstorms for new projects so frequently that it is frustrating to be tied up on a long effort. That’s why there is that big bag of UFOs in the corner of the room.

But I have wanted to work through all the scores in the Improv Handbook, and as I write this, Sherri Lynn Wood is polling the Facebook group for a quilt along. Check it out if you’ve been wanting to work through all the scores in the book. I’ll do it, but as a series of smaller pieces, I think.

I hope everyone is having a good week. We are still having rainy days here in Northern California, and I love it. We need the rain badly, and I always liked a rainy day. Plus, stormy weather makes for some fabulous vistas and big waves along the coast, as we saw on our  weekly hike last Sunday morning.

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Finally, I want to thank all of you who have been visiting and leaving comments. You encourage me to keep up with the blog. I really enjoy the feedback on what I’m doing, and the camaraderie, and I am trying to return the favor by visiting and commenting on your pages as well.

Happy Tuesday!

Made on Monday 6 – Skating on Thin Ice

My inspirations continue to draw from the time of year and winter weather is finally here in California–it’s cold! I’m working my way through a section in Wolff’s book on all the various things you can do with tucks. These are randomly sized and spaced tucks, some uniform in width, others varying, and running in random directions so that they appear to weave over and under each other. The circle was cut from a slightly larger piece, then applique’d to the background square, and then machine stitched with opalescent thread.

IMG_1509Visit Kate Bridger ‘s web site for more information about Made on Monday, or the Textile Arts group on Facebook, to see what others are doing. References I’m using for my project include Ruth Singer’s Fabric Manipulation: 150 Creative Sewing Techniques, and The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Collette Wolff.

Made on Monday 5 – New Year’s Eve

Sparkles and streamers were the inspiration. This piece is built up from a base of silvery faux leather, with strips of satins, sheers and ribbons sandwiched between the base and the grey background square placed on top (barely visible between the rows). The whole sandwich wa stitched with vertical parallel lines, then the layers are slashed between the first lines of stitching, bent in alternate directions and stitched again along the horizontal  to create the wavy pattern.

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Visit Kate Bridger ‘s web site for more information about Made on Monday, or the Textile Arts group on Facebook, to see what others are doing. References I’m using for my project include Ruth Singer’s Fabric Manipulation: 150 Creative Sewing Techniques, and The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Collette Wolff.

Warning – Loud Quilt Ahead!

The challenge this month came from Kaja: “pick up a piece of fabric you love, that you are saving for just the right time, and make this that moment.” Then December happened. I did some sewing in December, but only by fits and starts. I told myself I did not have time to start a new project, with the holidays looming. Finally, I had some time to attend to the AHIQ challenge of the month. I went looking for a special fabric, and found four. I had been thinking that each of these might be a featured fabric in its own quilt or something else, but when I looked at them all together, I liked the riot of color and the contrasting patterns. So I decided to cut into all four of them. The red millefiore fabric is the only one that I actually bought new, on deep discount from Craftsy. The rest were collected at different times from the local donation/thrift store where I volunteer (and shop, of course). I never know what I’ll find, but these were all nice one to one and a half yard cuts.

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I decided to work through the Floating Squares score in Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. I’ve had the book since it came out in May last year, and though I had done the Mod Mood Quilt and some bias-curved piecing, I hadn’t actually worked through a full score in the book. I chose the red Millefiore print and the turquoise larger scale print as the fabrics for the squares, and the multi-stripe as the primary filler fabric. I used the multi-stripe as filler for the first and second passes of joining squares, and then began to add in the magenta and orange stripe to complete the larger units. Here are the freehand cut squares. In retrospect, I can see that my size ranges were not quite broad enough, but there it is. Lesson learned for next time.

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I have now joined each square with another one using filler fabric, and then again joined the paired squares by twos or more into larger units that are approximately 18″ square (actually more rectangular than square). A surprise in this phase was how big this quilt is going to be…I haven’t ever really measured out or planned the size of an improv piece, but just used fabric until it got as big as it was going to get. Here is a photo of the bigger units over-flowing my midget-size “design wall” which is only about 3 x 5 feet. And these are only about 2/3 of the total big units I completed. I apologize for the bad lighting in the picture, it’s that time of year…and it’s too cold to go outside for a photo shoot!IMG_1401

So far, I like the way it is shaping up. It is decidedly a busy, loud quilt, and I am just ignoring my inner censors telling me that it is too bright and clashy, not enough variation in tone and value, all that stuff.  It pleases me, and reminds me of scenes I have seen in some tropical places I’ve visited like Costa Rica and Hawaii. Pura Vida meets Aloha.

The next step is to begin joining all the larger units together. I feel like I’ve been too stingy with the filler fabric, so I’ll be using larger pieces of that, but have not really decided whether they’ll be mixed into all the block joinings, or grouped in certain parts of the quilt, or perhaps around the edges. We shall see. This is an interim report, since I’m about to head out of town for the weekend, and won’t have time to sew or post more before Sunday.

Linking up with Ad Hoc Improv Quilters.  Happy New Year 2016 my friends!