Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Who'd have thunk it?

Today was our Woman's Club annual Arts and Crafts competition.  I always enter a few things, but can no longer enter quilts since I have sold a few things (although not recently) and am considered a pro.  You may remember this piece since I blogged about it here a while back asking which version I should donate to the Brookfield Craft Center as part of a fund raiser.  The other two were made of lots of little pieces fused down and then heavily machine stitched.  Most voted for one of those and that's what I donated.  They each took a lot of time.  This was just a photo transfer with some machine stitching to enhance the photo. I decided to enter it anyway, because I still thought it looked pretty good, but not great.



One of the categories is Stationery, and the sub category Stitched.  I was a Judge's Clerk, who follows the judges around and writes down the winners and place the ribbons.  Well, one of the judges went ecstatic over my little card and this was after seeing a lot of the other work.  Of course she didn't know it was mine. She gave it a First in its category and then after all the judging, a Best of Show is picked and they picked my little post card.

I really was rather embarrassed since some of the work there had taken ages to do......a fabulous mixed media painting, a beautiful woven scarf, some exquisite photography,  stunning stenciling, knitting, etc..  But I took my ribbon and ran.

I also got blue ribbons for my Shibori scarf, my silk tie scarf and one of my photos.

I'm linking with Off The Wall Friday.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Practice, practice, practice! That's what I've been doing with my new Sweet Sixteen, sit-down, mid-arm quilting machine.

I started by just doing my usual paisleys and swirls and spirals and innies and outies, but thought I needed to try some different patterns so I went to Leah Day's website where she has over 400 designs for fillers.  She shows you the patterns then has a short video of her quilting it and narrating her process.  She is working on squares that are about 6" and puts a 4" square inside. I cut out quite a few black squares, layered them with batting and backing and drew my inner square 5 inches.  I did several and decided that I really didn't like to work that small and if I did, I would use my trusty old Bernina, on which I have done a lot of free motion quilting. But if you're tired of doing the same old, same old, be sure to check her out!




Then I found another website, Angela Walter's, Quilting is My Therapy.  She was showing some larger motifs, also by showing the finished product and then a video where she walks you through it.  One of my favorites was the Paisley Feather.  Since I love to do Paisleys this was an easy adaptation for me, much easier than regular feathers, so I've been practicing them. Click on any picture for a bigger view of all.


This is all done without marking.  At the very top of this section is a wavy feather that I did mark.  It was a real pain in the neck, first tracing the design on with a blue wash-out marker and then trying to follow those lines.  I much prefer to just wing it and I like the results much better. In this section and the next one is another of Angela's designs, called The Plume Feather.  I need to practice that one some more.



I added in a few swirls and spirals of my own.  This is going to be fun.

My friend just told me that she is going to make a baby quilt for her neighbor and then send it out to be quilted on a long arm, since she can no longer quilt her own quilts due to back and shoulder problems. So I said, "Give it to me!"  It will be a wonderful practice venue and she won't have to pay for that long arm quilting.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Monday, February 9, 2015

Success

Since we had another snow day where everything got cancelled, I took advantage of another day inside and finished my second cube.  If you didn't read my last blog entry,  do that first so that you can see what I'm talking about.

I found this luscious snow dyed fabric in my stash and took a few pictures before I covered it all up with stencils.



I had pinned a piece of paper to the corner, telling me that I had used Olive Green, Azure Blue and ?, so if I ever want to duplicate it, I have at least two of the colors I used.  I think it is much more interesting to use a very mottled fabric as a background for the stencils.


And here is my finished cube.  I made each square bigger that the last time and when I sewed them together and draped them over the box, I thought it looked messy and that a slipcover was the way to go. I Googled "how to slipcover a cube" and found a good tutorial.  The first time around it was a little big and I had to take it in, but I like the fit and am glad to have it finished.



I use Shiva Paint Sticks with the stencils in blue, bronze and metallic gold.  I layered stencil on stencil.  I like working with paint sticks because you can vary the intensity of the color and  I like the way the colors of the fabric show through.  

One more thing.  I didn't have enough fabric to print my time sayings on, so I took a piece of the fabric and copied it onto a piece of white fabric with my printer.  It looked exactly the same as the fabric I was copying.  Then I printed my words from the computer onto my new fabric. After seeing this picture, I thought that the pieces of fabric with the words were too dominant, so I went over each of them with some Shiva paint on a stencil brush so that they blend in more.  Much better, I think.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Argh (*$^%@!!

I'm not going to say the swear words that I am thinking, but I really screwed up today (again!) Let me give you the background.  FANE, one of the art quilt groups of which I am a member puts on a special exhibit every year at the big guild, NSQG, show.  We have a special room and each year has been a huge success.  We have made totems that hung from the ceiling, kimono shaped quilts on T-shaped wooden forms and opposite themed pieces hung from the same forms.

One of our members, Joyce, came up with the idea of making fabric covered cubes since making the small wooden cubes were so much fun.  We will use cardboard boxes as the base and they can be any size from 12" square to 30" square and they will be displayed on pedestals. They do not have to be quilts, but can be just surface design, which is what I opted for.

They can not be attached to the box ahead of time so that we can transport the boxes in their folded flat state and be assembled at the show.  You can make a slipcover or two pieces that will drape over and completely cover the box.  We only have to cover five sides since the 6th side will sit on the pedestal.I opted for two pieces that will be draped over.

My little wooden cube had a time theme and I had done a small time themed quilt a couple of years ago. I have some nice clock, gear and number stencils, so I decided to use my stencils with Shiva Paint-sticks. I found a nice large piece of snow-dyed fabric in my stash that I thought would make a good background.  I spent the better part of today stenciling away and was pleased with the results.  I measured the box and each side was exactly 12" so I cut each square 12 1/2".  When all was sewn together they were TOO SMALL.  Argh (*(&^%^#(+!!  And I was planning to back them with plain muslin and that would make them smaller.  There was no way to save it.


I printed out sayings about time on the same fabric and fused them here and there.




I know that it really doesn't look too small in the first three pictures, but this one shows you how it is TOO SMALL.  So back to square one.  I found another piece of snow-dyed in my stash, a completely different color, but I think it will work.  Stay tuned and I'll hopefully show you the next one, where I will cut the squares much bigger.  I can always trim them if they are too big.  Wish me luck.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Decisions, Decisions

I dyed these fabrics was back when for my next big quilt.  They had been sitting there for quite awhile and then I started sewing a couple of weeks ago.  I had a plan in mind, but as is often the case it wasn't working out the way I thought it would.  My plan was to have these panels morph into the next color from blue to blue/green to green.  My colors were all wrong for that and I don't know why I couldn't see it in the fabric before it was sewed. I blogged about it here.http://notesfromnorma.blogspot.com/2015/01/next.html

So my next plan was to just mix up the blues and greens and forget about the transitions. When I put them together side by side, that wasn't working either.


I auditioned 1/4" strips of different orange fabrics and I still didn't like it. Basically it was very boring. Boring is not good.  But I still liked the individual panels and wondered what would happen if I cut them in half vertically.




Voila!  What a difference!  I love the way they seem to wave and undulate.  I was aiming for undulation. Even that purply-blue and grayish-green seem to work now, but I wondered if I needed something narrow in between each panel.




If you look carefully, you can see quarter inch strips of black and white striped fabric (an old stand-by of mine) between the five panels on the right. I'm not sure if it needs it. Click on the picture for a bigger view.  See  picture below for a closeup.



My question is: does it need the black and white striped strips?  Do they add to the tension of the waves or detract from it? What do you think?  I'd love to hear from you.

Linking up as usual with Off the Wall Friday.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Birthday Treat

As a treat to myself on my birthday, today, I am donating $100 to the American Cancer Society and hoping to be one of the first 100 to receive a piece of donated fiber art.  If you don't know what I'm talking about please see yesterday's post and then go to Virginia Spiegel's website to see how you can participate.

Please consider joining me by giving to this worthy cause.


Later in the day........Just heard from Virginia that we reached or goal of $10,000 in 2 1/2 hours.  Can't wait to see who gets my piece and which piece I get.  I will post a picture when I do.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

1 Day + 100 Artists + 100 Patrons = $10,000 To Fight Cancer

I am excited to be an invited artist for "The 100" to be held tomorrow, February 4, my birthday.  The goal for this fiber fundraiser for The American Cancer Society is to raise $10,000 in one day.  Just 100 people will have a chance to purchase a randomly selected art work for only $100.




See all the details on the Fiberart for a Cause website.  You will also find a list of the 100 invited artists there.  I'm sure you will want to be one of the very exclusive patrons who will be randomly assigned artwork from an extraordinary line-up of international fiber artists. Fiberart For a Cause has already raised $240,000 through the generosity of fiber artists and patrons. The first 100 people to contact Virginia Spiegel at the above mentioned website and make a contribution will be eligible.  Bids open at 10 AM central time.

The artwork that I am contributing to this worthy cause is "Bounce", which measures 9.5 " square. It is representative of my style with its hand-dyed fabrics and extensive free-motion quilting. As a patron you have a chance of receiving this piece.


This Fiberart for a Cause is one that is near to my heart.  I have lost my husband, a very dear friend, and two first cousins to this terrible disease.  Anything that may help to find a cure is worth while.

Please consider making a donation, help to conquer cancer, and get a great piece of art.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hit and Miss

With the Woman's Club annual Arts and Crafts completion coming up I decided to use my snowed in days during the Blizzard of 2015 to good advantage.  First I should tell you that we here in western CT really dodged the bullet.  They were predicting up to 36" of the white stuff and some parts of the state and other areas of New England did get that much, but we only got about 7 inches.  I am not complaining and I was so glad that we did not lose power so that I could sew.
I can no longer enter quilts into the competition since I am considered a professional because of my few sales here and there, so,I decided to make silk shibori scarves.  I had purchased a pretty one last year at the Brookfield Craft Center and I had done a fair amount of shibori dyeing with good success,  but I had never done it with silk.




This is the scarf I purchased last year. I liked its neutral color and have worn it quite a bit because it seems to go with a lot .  It was my inspiration. I had a hard time deciding what color to use for the initial pole wrap shibori and eventually chose olive green, a color I had used before in cotton dyeing and had liked and I thought it would be neutral. I did not want to try and copy this scarf. I wish I had taken a picture before I over-dyed it, but it was quite ugly.  The color separated into a yucky orange and green.  To make maters worse, I dyed three scarves in the same color.  What was I thinking?




What color should I use for the Itajime part where sections of the scarf are clamped and then dipped into another color?  I chose chocolate brown with a little black added.  I wanted a rich, dark color as in the one I had purchased. Instead I got this wishy-washy brown and the color migrated into the squares.  When I had done Itajime on cotton the blocked areas stayed the original color. I used different circles on the other two and they are equally ugly.  Maybe if I backed them with a fusible I could use them in an art quilt if I did a lot of stamping on top.  Maybe.... Or maybe I could dye them black and use discharge paste or bleach to do a pole wrap shibori again.  Maybe.....





Sooooooo, I made two more, this time using colors I like and was rather pleased with the results.  I gave a lot of thought as to the color I should use for the over-dyeing and decided on a navy blue for the chartreuse.  I had used navy before on cotton and it is a rich dark navy.




And this is what happened.  The navy is very purpley and migrated into the squares.  Not too horrible, but not at all what I had in mind.  After this I decided to keep the turquoise shibori just the way it is and call this a lesson learned that silk dyeing is not the same as cotton and get on to another kind of scarf, this time totally different.






I think this one is a winner.  I sewed strips cut from silk men's ties onto a lightweight cotton foundation and then backed it with fleece.  It is quite attractive on, with the pretty silks facing out and the warm fleece against the neck.  It should look good with my white down jacket.

All scarves are about 7" x 54".  I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.