Archive for the ‘surface design’ Category

Layer after Layer: All the Same Art

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

marble fly spiralIf you’ve been an artist long enough, you learn certain things about yourself, about your approach to art, and how that approach fit’s you in all kinds of odd ways. The strangest thing to me about art is vision and construction. No matter what media you’re working in, your vision is probably consistent. No matter what media you try, you’ll probably form images of similar things in the same ways.

alice and flamingof

Over time, I’ve discovered I view the world in layers. There’s the layers of air currents, water currents, soil, laundry and fabric scraps. There’s a whole other layer of things in the refrigerator we won’t discuss. And then there’s the layers of art.

It’s really not an onion experience from me. I’m not peeling an onion. I’m building something in layers. One layer under another. One layer over another. You may think you can’t see what’s underneath, but it always peeks through a bit.

awlizards

This may explain why I’ve recently be seduced by photoshop. I’ve been slowing working through the courses on Lynda.com, and playing with old Victorian Etchings. And in the way I’ve  layered thread on top of thread, and sheer on top of sheer, I’m layering image on top of image.

ferny frog

Is there any practical use for this? I’m not sure it matters, though I’ve started playing with it at Spoonflower.com. Spoonflower will take your designs and print them as fabric. You can check out what I’ve been playing with http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/ellenanneeddy?sub_action=designs

GRANDVILLE 2psyco

Mostly I think it’s a virtual playground. But it does have it’s dangers. If you create something on the computer is it done, or is it a reason to go further? Will you have the will or need to take it into another media?

This is uncharted water. I just don’t know.

I do know that I’m taking layer after layer of something and putting it together where it all peaks out to be seen. It’s just how my art works.

Heat and Shape: Mad Scientist/Artist at Play!

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

cycada song2Somewhere in my family background, there has to be a mad scientist somewhere. Either that or a wild woman who was brewing some very odd teas. 

I’ve been a dyer for over 30 years now. It’s not all of what I do. It’s never really been the focus of what I do. But my work would have been much less rich without it. 

I’m also incapable of measurements. Not in cooking, not in dyeing, not in any way. If you just can’t pour it in and hope for the best it’s probably not going to happen on my watch.  Soups and stews, yes. Much better at bread than cake. It’s all a dyslesics view of the measuring cup. It’s a sugguestion, a guideline. Don’t ask for accuracy.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t love  experiments.So I was delighted when I got a package of Heat and Shape. 

I’ve pasted in the information for you. Of course, it never occurred to me to do trapunto. 

Heat & Shape is a revolutionary heat-activated batting that allows the home crafter to create unique, 
rigid, three-dimensional fabric designs.  There is no need for water or messy chemical additives, Heat & Shape is non-toxic and is activated with only heat and pressure. Heat & Shape can be easily 
cut with scissors or a rotary cutter and, prior to heating, can easily be sewn through using standard
needles and thread.  Due to the nonwoven nature of Heat & Shape it will not fray at the edges like 
Woven stabilizers.  

Ideal as a hidden stiffener to add stability and crispness to handbags, tote bags and
placemats.  Let your imagination run wild with fanciful masks, costumes, millinery, boxes, bowls, flowers 
and ornaments.  Heat & Shape is mold and mildew resistant and is machine washable and dryable.

Quilt Heat & Shape into some of your favorite fabric, lightly steam and you have what we call
“Poor-Man’s Trapunto”; a beautiful stipple  effect as the Heat and Shape crisps and shrinks as you steam!

I found myself thinking, Leaves! So I cut a bunch of leaves and shaped them and veined them with the iron and the heat. As you heat them, they shrink and take on the forms around them. It’s like shrinking felt that can be molded and marked and seamed.

When I got done they were fearfully white. But they were polyester. It’s been a long time since I played with Rit, but Rit is one of the dyes that is formulated for all kinds of fibers. 

crockpot 2It was like my old college days. We used what we had.At that time Rit was it. Rit responds to vinger, salt and heat and I used a lot of both of those. I put it in the Crockpot and left it for two days. It remains to be seen whether the mix of purple and green made that brown or whether I singed them. But theydiyed leaves are very, very fall like.

dyed leaves 2

dyed leaves 3

 

 

They’re currently pinned to the Cidada quilt that is in process on top. I’m excited to see what they’ll look like with veining and stitching all over them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll find Heat and Shape at InnovativeCrafts.Com. Even though it’s polyester, we’ve proved it will dye with heat, salt vineger and Rit. Although, there’s a rumor that it could be made in rayon.  Which would dye with cold water procions. The mad scientist in me is completely overjoyed. cycada song detail

 

Ann Arbor and then Thread Magic Summer School

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Tomorrow I’m heading up for Ann Arbor the their Quilting Unlimited Festival, where I’ll be teaching this weekend. I’ve got my usual pile of  thread, books, kits, toys and quilts and I’m ready to go. I’ll be teaching the Stitch Mastery Book, Applique Master, Bobbin work Flowers and Button hole Binding. If you’re anywhere near, come and join us. You’ll find more information on their web site at http://www.gaaqg.com/qu2013/.

QU_2013_flyer898 Dragonfly in the Clearing

When I get back I’m going to start up Thread Magic Summer School Session. If you joined us last year, you know it’s an intense week of blog classes, this time on color theory outside the box.We’re going to talk about how and why color works the way it does. It’s kind of like class camp for grownups, where we focus on quilting, color, art, expression and fiber. The first lesson will start August 12. It’s free, it’s fun and it’s a great way to stretch your knowledge. 

Join me both places! This is going to be fun.

Ellen

Couching: Adding Wonderful Yarns to Your Work

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

 

2

 

We all live and die for thread. But sometimes thread simply isn’t enough! Thicker yarns and cords are the natural extension for a more dramatic line in quilting and surface design. We can use them in a number of ways to accent and accentuate our work.

 

 

1Perhaps you’d like to decorate or cover a seam. These yarns are perfect for that.

 

Light Japanese Lunch

Light Japanese Lunch

Or you might want to create a line that helps complete a visual path through your piece. The small bit of yarn carries your eye right across the surface.

 

 

3Or it can function as an element within your design. Here I’m using two thick twisted yarns as branches hanging down from a tree off the edge of the quilt.

 

Thick threads and yarns are easy to include in your designs! But it isn’t as simple as simply sewing them through the machine. They’re too thick or uneven to put through either the top or bottom of your sewing machine. But they can be couched. The options and possibilities are too wide for simply one foot to handle all of them, but there are all kinds of feet that accommodate different yarns, ribbons and threads so you can use them all.

 

4All yarns can be couched by hand. But some of us don’t hand sew well. These are methods I find work well with machine couching. In general, couching is usually done with feed dogs up. You can use either a zigzag stitch,a broken zigzag stitch, a straight stitch if it’s aimed carefully, or a joining stitch that catches the middle and both sides. Monofilament nylon will make the stitching invisible. But you can always use a bright colored polyester to add an extra color and texture.

 

 

Your Regular Pressure Foot

 

 

 

 

Thin and bumpy threads: Many thick and thin threads can be couched on with your regular pressure foot
Your regular pressure foot for most sewing has a groove down the center that you can run light yarns through.

 

 

 

 

 

Couching Feet
Much thicker yarns take a thread escape.

 

A foot with a large channel underneath lets the yarn pass through. Again any zigzag or joining stitch can be used to attach it.
 This couching foot with a wide thread escape that let’s you couch on all kinds of thicker threads.This foot also has a small hole through the top to guide medium yarns. Medium yarns pass through both holes easily for excellent control.For much thicker yarns, you can just run them through the bottom of the foot. 

 

All these yarns run easily through your machine because of the large thread escape in the foot. They were stitched with a joining stitch.

 

The Braiding Foot

 

This braiding foot arranges 3 smaller cords or threads into a braid. The yummy pearl cottons I showed you last week are perfect for this. There’s another foot set to braid 5. The Braiding foot with 3 thread channels loads from the top and has a bar that closes to hold the threads in place. You can use either a zigzag or broken zigzag to stitch down the cords. The effect is a flat braid made of your threads.

Sashay yarn

19©2012 Bubbly, Ellen Anne Eddy, 18” x8”>>

 

Sashay yarn is a new fiber we’re seeing in the yarn shops. Its loose open weave can be stretched and shaped in all kinds of ways. Because it catches on the foot, it helps to have a cut away foot that clears the yarn as we sew it. This foot originally set up for cutaway applique with its single toe makes it easier to stitch down.

 

 

 

 

It can be sewed straight or in waves, down either one side for a more textural effect or on both sides for a more controlled look.
Couching is a way to put extra fiber in your fiber!  And its sew much fun!

One of the  new Quilting Arts tutorials has a couching video on it. Check it out for more information.

dyed threadsYou’ll find all kinds of cool yarns every where that can be couched. You’ll also find dyed pearl cottons on Raid My Fabric Stash, my new Etsy Shop.

 

 

Ellenisms: Artistic Aesthetics

Friday, November 16th, 2012

They say you can’t really teach art. They’re really right. What you can teach is art tricks and drafting skills. And you can teach basic rules anyone can violate any time they don’t work. 

So teaching aesthetics  really doesn’t work. What you do is expose people to what you see as a wonder and let it take them where it will. Most of this is about color. A bit of it is about design. All of that is just a toolbox for seeing things differently.

With that in mind, there are things I say, just to open the doors a crack on that regard. 

  • Break the match instinct. You’ve matched thread all your life. You want it to show up here. Pick the brightest thread  you can find that will shine against your backdrop.

  • Complementary colors are the definition of excitement. And you can’t have too many. If you’re bored, add the complement.

  • Use a shocker and a shader in your color choice. A darker color anchors your piece and puts it into dimension. A bright shocking color gives it a final shimmer that puts it into the light.

  • A three legged stool always stands. Designs with three elements balance almost automatically.  It’s easy design.

  • Built a visual path. Create a path for your eye to follow and your eye will move through your work. It will make your work seem to move too.

  • Design so that your piece is as exciting up close as it is at a distance. Details and design are both vital. Detail brings excites up close. Good design brings them in.

  • Hang it up and look at it. You’ll know in six months. You don’t see a piece in whole until you hang it on a wall and look at it for a while. Unless you’re in a crushing hurry it’s always worth doing that. Especially if it’s large.
  • Build a frame and break out of it. We crave structure. We celebrate release. if you build a frame into the work and then break out of it in the design, it gives you both feelings at once.
  • All art depends on contrast. You have contrast between hues (basic colors), shades (darks and lights), and casts (golden, blue, clear and muddy). You can create contrast with colors, textures, shapes and sizes. Without contrast your eye has nothing to grab onto. Everything is sadly the same.
  • Of course all of this works except when it doesn’t. Which is so true to everything I say it all the time.

Art tricks are just tricks. They’re easy ways to think about building your personal aesthetic, the rules that really work for you. And they’re the only ones that count.

I teach a lecture called the Visual Path that walks people through this pretty simply. If you have a group that would like some real design tools, it’s a good starting place.

 I teach color theory on all classes. Can’t do it without it.

 

Vivi Ginsberg Smith: Definition in Constant Redefinition

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

I met I  met Vivi at least 15 years ago. At the time she was running the  best fiber art gallery around.  A gallery is it’s own creation, a place where art shines. And that is an important part. But often people are more involved with that space than they are with art.

Vivi isn’t one of those. I’ve watched her create safe spaces for children, exhibition places for artists ( bigger children), grace and love for the people in her life, and turn around and do the most amazing pottery/ sculpture. She is in  constant movement and definition. 

I’m a color person. I dream in color. I think in color. But Vivi’s vital textures in plain porcelain open doors in my head I didn’t know where there.

This is what she says about her own work.

“After over 10 years of clay, I still boil down to my love of surface design and fiber. My current projects endeavor to combine porcelain, stoneware and fiber in new and wonderful ways. I currently designing a new jewelry line , scheduled to appear on Etsy in the new year.

The photo of Seedpod is felted wool fiber and porcelain.
Anemone is porcelain, hand built. I’m considering a revisit to this only with a porcelain body and fiber tentacles.

This “…is my potter’s mark. I started signing my name as VIVI before we lost Leo because that is what he always called me and I liked it. Oddly enough the VIVI done like a roman numeral can be read as a 66, this is interesting because Leo was born in 66, I was 6 years old and he was murdered New Year’s Day 06.

…. Quite a few people don’t know what a flower frog is. I didn’t either when I was younger and when asked by my mother to get her a flower frog whilst she was arranging flowers, my reaction was “what frog?”, I thought we had frogs as in amphibians in the laundry room, lol.

As you can see my work is very nature based, loving the woods, ocean and gardening has a strong influence on everything I create.

You’ll find her work online at www.viviginsbergsmith.com and  http://www.etsy.com/shop/VIVIGinsbergSmith and at the Illinois Artisan Shop at Rend Lake.

Pat Jones: Mountain Fringe Girl

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

 

 

I met Pat Jones at the Mountain Laurel Guild in Georgia. The whole guild was full of wild gardeners and astonishing fiber artists. Pat fits right in. She lives in a cabin up the mountain where birds sing to her right off her porch, looking down the gorge. It’s another world.

Pat tells me I gave her permission in my first book to try things. And she has. She’s this quiet and very proper southern gal doing wonderfully wild things with her thread and fabric.

She took my flower class, and being a master gardener herself, she build one incredible flower garden.

Here’s what she had to say about it.

“First, THANK YOU for your visit with us in June.  We were ALL blown away by your work!  What inspiration!  As a result, I had to put all the work I was in the middle of aside and try your techniques.  This is my first attempt, and I plan to do MANY more!  I have a long way to go….got to learn to be FREE!  What a joy you are and your work is gorgeous, on top of that, your teaching is so excellent that it makes us feel confident that we can try it. 
The pink flowers in the wall hanging were stitched onto a felt background then stitched on the background fabric sandwich.  That made them raised a little and I really like the effect.  The center of the flowers is all thread stitched onto Ultra Solvy then applied.  The butterfly is, of course, Angelina.  The wisteria is made of tubes of hand painted organza and silk. 
This past Tuesday was guild and it made a splash with the girls!!!”
There’s no way to know where she’ll go next with her work, but she’s unstoppable. I can’t wait to see.

More of Ellen on Quilt It!

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
Photo: Hi Folk! Another edition of the taping with Jodi Davis at Quilt It. Here's the info.</p><br />
<p>Catch even a quick glimpse of one of Ellen Anne Eddy’s quilts and you will see that Ellen does in fact create a “magical world” with fabric and thread. Having seen her quilts before she joined me in Salt Lake City to tape Quilt It! The Longarm Quilting Show, I was anxious to find out how she made those fabulous creatures and fairy tale scenes come to life in her quilts.</p><br />
<p>It all starts with Ellen’s hand dyed fabrics. Not only do they provide her palette, but often the pattern within the fabric evokes an element in the quilt.</p><br />
<p>Then there’s the thread. Lots of thread! My big “aha” moment was when I saw how she made some of the frogs and butterflies separately from the quilt top and then attached them. That’s how she gets those thread-heavy creatures onto her quilts!</p><br />
<p>As wonderful as her quilts are, the same is true of Ellen herself. She could easily be a character who just stepped out of one of her magical quilts. Meet Ellen Anne Eddy this month on Quilt It! The Longarm Quilting Show and be charmed!</p><br />
<p>Happy quilting,<br /><br />
Jodie</p><br />
<p>Quilt It! The Longarm Quilting Show!<br /><br />
Quilty<br /><br />
Quilt Out Loud!<br /><br />
The Quilters Community</p><br />
<p>ADVERTISEMENT</p><br />
<p>Quilt It! The Longarm Quilting Show<br /><br />
Episode 216<br /><br />
The Magical World of Longarm Quilting Artist Ellen Anne Eddy</p><br />
<p>The longarm machine was invented for quilting quilts, or so we thought. Leave it to the imagination of gifted artists like Ellen Anne Eddy to take the longarm to places that astound us. The longarm machine and threads become her pen and ink and her hand painted fabrics are the paper as she quilts, bringing her magical world of colorful creatures to life before our eyes.</p><br />
<p>Ellen Anne Eddy works her quilt magic with hand dyed fabrics and lots and lots of thread. Many of her exquisite creatures and flora are stitched separately using bobbin work and then later attached to the quilt.</p><br />
<p>Short Takes on Longarm Quilting with Vicki Hoth<br /><br />
Vicki shows us some gadgets sit-down longarm quilters should have in their bag to simplify their quilting time.</p><br />
<p>Jodie and Ellen Anne Eddy have a blast going through a trunk show of Ellen’s quilts. She points out special techniques used on different quilts. Her hand dyed threads and fabrics and lots and lots of shiny threads are the special ingredients used to create her fantasy world.</p><br />
<p>Watch it here!
Hi Folk! There’s another edition of the taping with Jodi Davis at Quilt It. Here’s the lovely note Jodie Davis wrote about it.
“Catch even a quick glimpse of one of Ellen Anne Eddy’s quilts and you will see that Ellen does in fact create a “magical world” with fabric and thread. Having seen her quilts before she joined me in Salt Lake City to tape Quilt It! The Longarm Quilting Show, I was anxious to find out how she made those fabulous creatures and fairy tale scenes come to life in her quilts.

It all starts with Ellen’s hand dyed fabrics. Not only do they provide her palette, but often the pattern within the fabric evokes an element in the quilt.

Then there’s the thread. Lots of thread! My big “aha” moment was when I saw how she made some of the frogs and butterflies separately from the quilt top and then attached them. That’s how she gets those thread-heavy creatures onto her quilts!

As wonderful as her quilts are, the same is true of Ellen herself. She could easily be a character who just stepped out of one of her magical quilts. Meet Ellen Anne Eddy this month on Quilt It! The Longarm Quilting Show and be charmed!

Happy quilting,
Jodie”

Quilt It! The Longarm Quilting Show!
Quilty
Quilt Out Loud!
The Quilters Community

Cheesecloth! The Cotton Sheer

Monday, June 18th, 2012

It’s such a good thing people don’t generally look in my washer. They would need medical attention pretty fast, and perhaps that’s just as well. There’s a large quality of the embodied question.”Just what is that?”

This is a cheesecloth lump. As advertised, it’s a lump of cheesecloth, tucked carefully into a nylon stocking so it doesn’t unravel and trap the whole washer in threads. Is this some special fabric we’ve never heard of? No. You probably put it on a turkey breast last Thanksgiving. 

 

 

Even open it’s a bit of a mystery for folk. But you  can see the colors. Cheesecloth is one of the appliquer’s and dyers best kept secret. It’s a cotton sheer that dyes beautifully, can be ironed like cotton ( with a pressing cloth) and is fabulously textured. What it does best is sheer bright color behind stitching.

 

Here it makes the background behind these great mushrooms

 

 

 

 

This great flower is cheesecloth in two shades. All the other coloring is the thread work.

 

These soft leaves are cheesecloth with polyneon thread stitched in different colors on

different sides.

How do you dye cheesecloth? It dyes just like cotton. The trick is not in dyeing it. It’s in washing it out. Like every other bad boy, you can’t let it play with others. Stick it in a nylon stocking, tie it up and your good to go.

I apply cheesecloth with Steam A Seam 2, iron it down thoroughly and stitch it with abandon.

Sheer, bright, lovely,  cotton and  completely addictive, add it to your applique stash.

If you can’t find it, or dye it, I do make it available for folk. Email me and we’ll set up mailing you a box of it. 

Technology and the Dye Cup Fairy (Pat Winter)

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

I love technology. I hate technology. I feel like the red queen and though I can’t possibly run fast enough, or at all, I must try.

Pat Winter is the Dye Cup Fairy. When I’m done dyeing fabric, I always have a bit of left over dye in the cups. Not so much that you could dye yards and yards of fabric. But ribbon? Yes! So Pat comes by and picks up the dye cups. I go for long periods of time when I don’t see the Dye Cup Fairy but you always know she’s been there. There’s a note, missing dye cups, and if you’re lucky, new plants in your garden or an Icy waiting for you. If you don’t know Pat, she’s perhaps the most inventive and amazing crazy quilter in the world.

Several years ago, I bought what I call a boob camera. Not because it’s for those of us who are a bit behind. No. It fits in my bra. Now this is important because if you don’t have a camera with you you can’t take the picture. I know you’re supposed to be able to do this with a phone. 
Please! I can only master one plastic box at a time.

 

Panasonic Lumix Boob Camera

I love my boob camera. Simple, no cap to lose. Takes a lot of pictures before it declares itself dead. Do I know what all the settings are? Don’t be silly!

 

 

 

 

So one day I walked into my studio and found the Dye Cup Fairy. And being the Fairy of Large and Incomprehensible Messes, we played together. With the boob camera and paint sticks.

Pat is much better with a camera than I. We both looked at the sport setting and said Sure! Why Not! You press the button down and it takes picture after picture after picture after picture. Well, you get the idea. She pointed and shot. I just played.

 

We got 836 pictures. What do you do with 836 pictures? Even after you take out the ones with blurry hands, more is definitively less  there really is a too much. Who’d have believed that?We’re not going to use that setting again.

 

 

 

 

Did we have fun? You betcha

I hope you have a Dye Cup Fairy who takes, gives and shares wonderful things with you!

I hope you play with your friends, even when the technology is incomprehensible!

I hope all your messes bring you wonder and joy! 

You’ll find Pat Winter’s blog at Pat Winter Gatherings. She also does a fabulous crazy quilt magazine that will launch you into a brand new crazy  quilting world.

You’ll find more about paint sticks on older posts of mine at 

The Secret Handshake: New Toys 

Paint Stick Updates

The Schamburg Expo

You’ll find my camera on Amazon.com. There are lots newer ones, but none better. And it fits just fine in a DD cup.

 


Experimental Art by Accident: Plumbing

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Soulmates

 

All of life is an art form. I’ve always maintained that how we live our lives, structure our stories, organize or not organize our space is in it’s own way a creative act. Sometimes it features beauty, or courage, or growth. Sometimes it’s a rare moment of survival in the midst of craziness. It is, however a creative act in response to the world we live in.

Several weeks ago, my neighbor Liam told me he wanted to make a volcano. Not  a problem. Got a soda bottle, vinegar and some baking soda. Mix and explode. It was a lovely afternoon.

Yesterday,  I recreated the LaBrea Tar Pits pit in my kitchen. Honest to God. I can barely wait to show Liam.

We wash dishes here every six weeks or when we run out of forks, whichever happens first.This time I decided I’d have a clean kitchen for my birthday which was yesterday. At least it’s a novelty

I had a very slow drain and thought it was risky to run the dish hider ( I haven’t noticed that it washes dishes. But it’s very good at hiding them.) I knew it was a dicy situation, so I went and looked up drain cleaning on the internet. As always, every product had at least one one star review and five five star reviews. Thus equipped, I went over to the hardware store and picked up a product I will not name. It was buffered sulfuric acid. Should cut through anything. Right?

Not exactly. Home again and we put it down the sink. Looked good. Made significant noises. ( I always find those encouraging). I waited 15 minutes and ran cold water. Out of the depth black bubbly goo started to rise. And take over one side of the sink and then the other. I went to the living room and started to pray for a faith healing experience. That didn’t happen. Two hours later I had everything from the black lagoon in the kitchen sink except, thank God, the creature.

Then I heard the drip. I looked down to see a streak of black goo on the pipe. Ran to get a bucket from the studio. Ran some more cold water to dilute it.

This situation is what we call a busted comode. Full of something and going no where. When I though again about plunging and plungers, I remembered that we could have sulfuric acid and black goo everywhere.

Back to Liam’s volcano. I got the box of baking soda and started to pour it in. Black bubbles rushed up one side of the sink. The other side burbled in response. An odd black greasy crust formed on the surface, broken temporarily by more bubble action. It went on all night.Blump. Burbble burbble, blump,plip,plip plip. Grirrrirrrgle. A symphony in black tarry substances. More baking soda in the other side. More blurble sounds. It was the symphony of the swamp.

I plunged at 10:30. At 3 am. More burbling noises but no other changes. The swamp is still extant and bubbling at nine am.

Why is this art? It’s too funny to be anything else at this point. But in the middle of this, when I called a friend to ask what to do about it, she said” Have you seen the moon?” No, it wasn’t a non-sequetur. If you’re going to have the worst plumbing night of your life you might as well have the best moon too. And I bet there was a spectacular moon over the tar pits as the dinosaurs went down. You’ve got to enjoy what’s there. And it’s a new form of surface design. But you might not want to try this at home.

So I hope you have a super moon to light your plumbing disasters. I’m also hoping the plumber works on Sunday.

You’ll find more information about the super moon at

http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/world/science/super-moon-rising-20120506-1y6m7.html?selectedImage=0

Update: The plumber doesn’t work on Sunday. And he thinks it’s the whole drainage system. Anyone wanting to buy a quilt today, contact me and we’ll have a half off sale. 

 

 

Anatomy of a Quilt: Background Search

Friday, May 4th, 2012

One of the most telling decisions for every quilt is a background. It’s the light within the piece.

I’m working on a commission  which gives me the opportunity to play with a lot of possibilities. This is a great little quilt with butterflies and bleeding hearts. I’ve got number of backgrounds to try, to very different results.

Here are some of our possibilities.

 

 

 

I did some paint stick rubbings for this. But this is going into a baby’s room and the mom has a sensitive nose. So the answers to those is  no, no matter how lovely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which leads us to several hand dyed options. This has a darker black, blue purple background that is more mysterious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This brighter background gives us a well of color behind the red exterior.

Which did my owner like? The green felt I embroidered the vine on. So I’m off to look at my stash of green hand dye.The background of a quilt is usually your first decision. Except when it isn’t. It changes how everything in your quilt is perceived.

 

 

Sometimes it’s very valuable to take your elements and give them an interview on differing backgrounds. You know.

“Do you work and play well with others?”
“Do you share the limelight?”
“How do you fit in here?”

Often the answers aren’t what you expect. Aren’t you glad you asked the question?

Anatomy of a Quilt: Building Elements

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Butterfly Components

I’m currently working on a commissioned quilt for a new family that’s just had a baby. The dad has asked me to do a butterfly quilt, partially for the mom but for his baby daughter as well. Commissions are a privilege. It’s an act of trust, that I am always a bit nervous about.

So I make several approaches possible and go from here. The premise was pink and purple butterflies. So I’ve started the quilt with those. I’m using an applique process where I cut my shapes out on sheer fabric backed with Steam A Seam 2, fuse them into a form, embroider them and then cut them out to use as appliques on the quilt. You’ll find full information on this in my new book Thread Magic Garden.

 

 

Fabric for butterflies

These are my butterfly fabrics. They’re great sheers and an oriental brocade. I buy these wherever I see them, because you never know if you’ll see them again.

 

 

 

butterfly bits on a pressing cloth

Here they are cut out as butterflies. Each butterfly has two teardrop wings, a body and eyes. They’re on a non-stick pressing cloth so I can arrange them.

 

 

 

 

fusing onto the sandwich.

 

Once their formed, I fuse them on to a stabilizer sandwich. This sandwich is made from hand dyed fabric, poly felt, and Decor Bond. This makes a firm embroidery surface that controls some of the distortion that happens with intense embroidery.

 

 

 

I embroider the  butterflies from inside out. First the bodies, then the veins of the wings, then the shadings and finally the outlines. They’re embroidered with a freemotion zigzag stitch and metallic Supertwist threads from Madiera. Finally I added in my bleeding heart blooms as well.

 

in place with the stem

The image at the top is what they look like cut out.
Here’s the rough placement with the stem I have planned.

Next time we’ll talk about backgrounds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thread Magic Garden

You’ll find information about freemotion applique in my book Thread Magic Garden, available on my site, on Amazon, and at your local quilt store.

Paint Stick Update: New Toys 2

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

painted fabric 1

The last time I talked about paint sticks, I had rubbing plates hanging from the ceiling, paint sticks everywhere, huge piles of fabrics I was waiting to dry and no idea how they would work in quilts.

That’s about par for a new toy. You don’t always know how to use it.

There’s a great book out called “Poke the Box” by Seth Godin. It’s kind of a one note wonder, but the premise is rock solid. It really doesn’t matter what the instructions say. You learn any new tool by taking it out and poking at every button, switch and display it’s got. You learn by poking the box. You watch what it does and when it does something bigtime cool, you see if you can repeat it. 

863 vinery

So I was a bit worried when I took my first couple of oil stick rubbed scraps and used them as surface designed starting spots. They remind me of wall paper. I love them.

From a practical point of view, I stipple less. But they fill the space with glowing light and color and I think I now have all the rubbing plates except the ones for Xmas.

Poke the Box! Take a new toy out. Don’t worry about what will happen. Poke all the buttons and switches and see what you’ll come up with.

You’ll find all kinds of cool information about paint sticks at

Laura Murray Designs

And at

Cedar Canyon Textiles

You’ll find Poke the Box on Amazon  

And you’ll find my very cool new quilts on my web gallery 

Check them out!

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