Number 3 in this mini-series of excavations. More stitch and slash, in a very random pattern, with machine stitching.
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Not long ago I joined a group called The Pointless Sisters Art Quilt Group in my neighborhood. It was one of my hopes on my retirement bucket list, to find a group to belong to who shared my interest in textile arts, since virtually none of my family or other friends do.
At the first meeting I attended a new challenge was issued to the group, to make a quilt using only Black and White and One Color. We can use any shade (of black, or white orthe one color), the quilt could be any size, and any theme. I wracked my brain for a couple of months, and finally started on a strings project similar to my Improv Bargello, using a selection of black and white prints, black and white solids and an array of orange shades from a fat quarter bundle that happened to show up in the shop where I volunteer. It was going along pretty well, when in the wee hours one night I woke up with a very clear vision of a completely different quilt that would also satisfy this challenge! So, I stopped in the middle of the one I’d started and made the one I’m sharing today.
And, in spite of my ongoing struggles with free motion quilting, I forced myself to do some on this piece, because it was just the only way to get the effect I was going for. I used a combination of FMQ (verging on FM embroidery or even thread painting, really) and more straight line quilting, but because this is the first piece I have finished where I actually like the way the FMQ came out, I’m also going to attempt to link up with Lizzie Lenard’s Free Motion Mavericks, where I have been watching from the wings for many months, but had nothing to share. Better start somewhere!
Here are a couple of detail shots:
One not-so-happy discovery was that the fusibles* I used for the applique on this project really gummed up my machine needles so that I had to constantly stop and clean them off, and when I got to the hand sewing bits, it was even worse!
*I used Wonder Under until I ran out and then completed with Steam-a-Seam 2 Lite. I had not really had this experience before, so am somewhat mystified.
Anyhow, I persisted, and here is the finished piece.
16″ x 23″
Now, back to my original project.
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This is the beginning of a series that I thought of as “excavations”. I pulled out several pieces of fabric that I had colored in various ways. Some were painted and/or sun-printed, some printed using a Gelli plate, and some colored using Sharpie pens and alcohol.
The method is a form of reverse applique, or ‘stitch and slash’. Since it is all done freehand, the shapes are pleasingly irregular and spontaneous. Each piece is a stack of four layers, that is stitched then cut away to reveal the layers underneath. As each new color emerges, there is a moment of surprise and the design evolves.
As I worked on these pieces I tried not to plan or over-think what I was doing, and it was lots of fun to just “doodle” and watch them develop. I especially enjoy doodling with the sewing machine, and I had this nice spool of multi-colored Sulky embroidery thread that is now nearly used up!
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Last of the photo transfer series for awhile.
This photo of a streambed under water was manipulated to super-saturate the colors and then inkjet printed on transparency film. The image was then transferred to cloth coated with matte Mod Podge and burnished to transfer the ink to the surface. I added some definition with dye sticks, then stitched over the entire image with a white pearlescent metallic thread to represent the water surface.
Happy Monday, and thanks for coming by!
And finally back with MoM #33 – a couple of weeks late! I’m continuing to explore ways of transferring photo images to fabric. This photo was first manipulated to ‘push’ the colors and then inkjet printed on transparency film. The image was then transferred to cloth coated with matte Mod Podge and burnished to transfer the ink to the surface. This method tends to blur the image but the basic colors and shapes transferred well. I added some definition with black micron pen and dye sticks, then created more detail with black machine stitching.
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Wow! It’s been nearly three weeks since I wrote my last post. What happened? Life, that’s what.
It was not bad, just busy. Well, maybe a little difficult. One week featured an expensive visit by a plumber and the simultaneous failure of several appliances. Then another week was taken up with dental appointments and a meeting with my art quilt group. The next week, a fire in the furnace, a 9-1-1 call and a potentially serious medical problem that turned out to be not serious. Then a weekend out of town.
But that is not to say I got nothing done in July. On July 18, I attended a workshop called “Broken Color” by Denise Oyama Miller. This was the first actual sewing/quilting workshop I have ever attended, and I enjoyed it very much. The Broken Color technique involves fused raw-edge applique, where each piece is outlined in the background (foundation fabric) which lends a definition and line to the individual pieces. The cutting of the fusing web and pieces simultaneously keeps the edges of each piece fairly clean. I have an idea you’ll hear more about later, and have been searching for the right technique to execute it. This technique will help, but I am still looking for the best way to keep the edges of the pieces clean and free of ravelling. For that, I’m working with Lara Buccella’s technique explained in her book Crafted Applique.
I had a very hard time choosing an image for my learning piece for the workshop. I didn’t want to do a flower…so many people have done them and they are very beautiful, but I wanted something different. After much dithering, I chose a photo I had taken on a weekend visit with some dear old friends at their second home in Fort Bragg, CA. We went to the museum there, at my request, as I have ancestors who lived in that town for a time and I hoped I’d find some information about them. The photo was of the stained glass windows in the stairwell in the old building that houses the Guest House Museum. The building was constructed in 1892, using local redwood lumber. There was no attribution for the windows, but they were very ornate and beautiful. I enlarged the bottom center panel to use as a design for my workshop project.
Of course the first words out of Denise’s mouth were “be sure for your first project, to choose a design without too many small pieces, and try to keep them at least 1/2″ in size, not smaller”. Uh-oh. I started counting and came up just short of 200. Most of them were under 1/2″. But I was stuck, having drawn the cartoon/pattern for it and so I proceeded with my design. It was a fun workshop, a very nice play day with nice people, and though I didn’t make much headway there, I was excited enough to come home and spend time working on it until it was done. I have given it as a gift to our old pals who hosted us on our weekend in FB. Here is the photo I based my piece on, and a detail of the panel I used for my design.
And here is my finished quilt, 11″ x 17″, fused applique, machine quilted using invisible thread. I was not able to find fabric colors that were exactly like those in the photo. In particular, I had trouble with the light background pieces. In my rendition they are a pale blue-gray, which was purchased, as was the mottled dark gray background, to simulate the lead in the stained glass. The rest of the fabrics were more successful, and inspired the piece. They were mostly hand-dyed fabrics that I won in a drawing on Vicki Welsh’s blog Colorways earlier this year. I used a piece that I colored myself with Dye-na-Flow fabric paints, for the yellowish border. Only the light and dark gray background pieces were purchased. Even though the colors aren’t a perfect match to the original, I’m satisfied with the piece. I like the way the lines echo the original, and are imprecise and wavering. It is what gives some of the old stained glass windows much of their character, and this technique, with its hand drawing, and hand-cutting of pieces, helped to maintain that look. I gave it to my dear friend and hostess yesterday, and she seemed delighted with it! It will hang in their weekend home!
And, I have not totally neglected my Made on Monday pieces. Stay tuned, I’ll be back tomorrow with the latest on that!